I was driving home tonight, when child number one brought up the fact that there were a lot more lights on the road than usual. We drive past a major shopping mall on our way home from church and they have put up their Christmas lights recently. I have been well aware that the holidays are coming. For our family, the holidays start after Labor day. My husband is heavily involved in our church's Christmas music program and that requires early preparations and practice for it beginning in September. Child number one has a birthday in October. Then there is Halloween (costumes, candy and bounce houses) which is always a favorite with the kids. November brings Thanksgiving (on Grandpa's birthday this year) with family visiting. After that, child number two has a birthday in December, followed soon after by Christmas and more family visiting. This is our busiest time of year so I have been planning ahead as usual.
With all this in mind, it felt a little strange to hear my kids exclaiming over the Christmas lights tonight. I've got my schedule in mind, but forgot how the kids see it. It is new to them every year at this age. Each year they relearn what the holidays are at a different level. They live so much in the present that the prolonged nature of the holiday season is torture when they realize that something they want is coming. But, at the same time the length also prompts constant questions and repetition of stories and traditions. Maybe that is why this time of year is the favorite for so many people. They are inundated with things they like for a longer time than just a one day holiday.
Thinking this over, I started to wonder if I need to look at it from their perspective a little more. Maybe, I need to spend more time on the little enjoyable things that are easier to do every day. I could think more about what I want them to learn about relationships, giving, faith, and life. I could try coming up with ideas for how they can participate more at their age/ability level, so they are not just receiving but giving as well. Who knew that a mall's christmas lights would get me thinking profound thoughts. Usually, I would have seen them as crass comercialism.