The Christmas Elephant


I've noticed the lights, food bank drive, and Santa parade, all the wonderful signs that Christmas is around the corner.  I've said "Happy Holidays" at least a couple of times and maybe even a "Merry Christmas" or two.  I reached up to the top shelf in the basement, heaved the big Christmas tree box down and helped Ben set it up in the corner of our living room.  But for the first time in my adult life, the spirit of Christmas, that inexplicable anticipation, wonderment, and mystery has eluded me. I'm struggling to figure out why.

I had a lovely visit with newly elected councillor Lance Bussieres yesterday.  I shared with him that for a "retired" politician, I'm staying remarkably busy.  The vacuum created by huge blocks of time earmarked for council commitments that unexpectedly opened up has rapidly filled with new projects, responsibilities and a return to painting.  In some ways, I feel as busy as I was as a councillor, if not more so.  I'm wondering if the busyness is the elephant in the room that I need to address?

I've been a sucker for Christmas music, movies, decorations and traditions my entire life.  I have always revelled in the magic of the season, as a small boy, curling up next to the furnace vent and staring at the presents under the tree for hours at a time, walking to midnight mass on a snowy and cold Christmas Eve.

As a young father, I delighted in establishing our own family traditions around the holidays, including the creation of an annual picture-filled family newsletter, stockings hung above the fireplace, and Christmas cards strung out on a string on the window wall that separates our living room from the kitchen.

Even now, I enjoy watching Ben get visibly excited about drafting his annual letter to Santa Claus, Dylan surprising his friends with unexpected gifts, and Heather surreptiously gathering presents and getting them wrapped out of the view of prying eyes.

My goal this weekend, among many other goals of getting some painting and planning done, is to spend some time with my Christmas elephant and have a heart to heart.   I'm sure that he/she/it has something to say to me that I need to hear.

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