(December 2014) Christmas thoughts.

Christmas is coming! It's this week. I'm not sure if you've noticed yet. Have you seen any Christmas ads on TV yet? They're so hard to spot... 

Even though the ad industry and every single retailer shouts "CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!! BUY OUR STUFF!!!!!" starting in October every year, Christmas always manages to sneak up on me. This is especially surprising considering I work at a church full-time. 

Well, it's not like I'm surprised by Christmas. I guess I'm just always surprised that it's already here. Every year.

It didn't used to be like that.

When I was a kid, it took Christmas FOR-FREAKING-EVER to get here. My mom and I (and then my step-dad and brother, when they joined our pack) would light the advent wreath candles and sing songs and read Advent stories from the Bible on Sunday nights, and that's how I knew Christmas was on its way. I would move the mouse up to the next day's pocket on our mouse-in-pockets Advent calendar. (You'd know it if you saw it. It's a classic.) FOREVER.

These days I'm still involved in weekly Advent services, they're just at my church/place of employment. The wonder of Advent is kind of balled up with the weekly/daily duties of my job, which can make it hard to really, truly feel Advent anticipation and Christmas joy sometimes. It also makes Advent go by SUPER FAST and Christmas arrive before I even realized I had some gift-hunting (i.e. online shopping) to do. 

This year I have the added pleasure of being 9 months pregnant for all of December/Advent/Christmas. Rest assured, I am crossing of every single day in my calendar when morning comes. I am looking at the dates. I am counting what's left until my "due date" (that arbitrary date you're given at your doctor's office that means absolutely nothing in the real world). I have zero reasons to be surprised by Christmas this year.

And yet, surprise! I am surprised. Are you surprised? I am surprised. 

I'm kind of bummed that we don't do a living nativity here at my church/workplace on Christmas Eve. We'd have Mary all ready to go - I don't need any pillow stuffing or anything! I have a child in my womb! Ready to pop! I could go into labor DURING THE NATIVITY!!!! It could be INTERACTIVE!!!! Then maybe this whole "Mary gave birth to a baby boy and placed him in a manger" story would be a little less romanticized. I mean, for real people. Mary was in a  barn. Basically outside. With barnyard animals. With NO EPIDURAL. Maybe she had back labor. Maybe she had group B strep!! Jesus' birth is miraculous for so many reasons in addition to the whole "Son of God/Messiah" thing. 

Jesus' birth is miraculous also because of his bad-ass mom, Mary, whose labor story is almost as horrifying to me as my good friend Libby (who gave birth to another baby boy during a snowstorm in a police station waiting room). 

Meanwhile, I'm going to continue whining about the back pain, the cramping, the not-pooping, and the fact that the one time I had a pregnancy craving the restaurant that makes said craved item didn't have any available.