It is that time of year again.  The malls are packed with people, Christmas tree lots are filling up with plush evergreens and a few extra keen homeowners have turned on their sparkly outdoor lights.

Each year when December gets close, I have to dig down really deep to keep my spirits high.  You know why?  Because I am so sad inside without you, and Christmastime makes me wish even harder for you to arrive.  I wish I could be out shopping for sweet little outfits for you.  I want to put puffy antlers on your head and send the photo to everyone I know.  I want to see your eyes widen when we turn on the tree lights for the first time.  And I want to witness the joy and excitement of Christmas through your eyes.

When I was a girl, the most exciting thing about this time of year was the arrival of an advent calendar.  My mother would put it on the wall in the kitchen.  My sister and I each had one – we weren’t very good at sharing.  For the few days before December 1st, I would study the numbers on all 24 windows and memorize the order in which they would all eventually be opened, day by day.  On December 1st, we would wake up early and run to the kitchen so we could open the little paper flap with the number 1 on it.   I would stare at the tiny image behind the square door in amazement and with glee.  It was a truly magical thing.  The excitement would build every morning until the 24th, when we would open the biggest little square of all to find baby Jesus in his manger – this, the advent calendar grand finale – always made us smile.

Love you already,