December Is…

img_3516I saw a post entitled “How to Survive Christmas”, and I thought it was the saddest title I’ve seen in a long time. Survive Christmas? What happened to celebrate Christmas? But, it is no wonder that if we are not careful we are reduced to a survival mode rather than a celebratory one.

The political climate has not enriched our sense of peace or hope. The inundation of advertisements do not contribute to satisfaction with what we have or what we’ll give. The pressure “to do” is perhaps greater now than it is at any other time of the year. If we are not careful, joy will escape us.

I thought of my goals for this season, goals which you may find helpful as well:

  1. Simplify. I wanted to put up one balsam fir, with white fairy lights, and the crèche my parents made for me when I was eight, and that’s all. We have a bit more than that in our home, including two little, felted snow girls with a reindeer, and a small collection of snowmen on the mantle. But simple is my favorite.
  2. Reduce my expectations. This used to be an enormous load for me to bear; my expectations for myself far exceeded what I was able to accomplish, let alone those I held for anyone else. Ridiculous. Instead of expect, I am now better able to accept, and it makes me so much happier.
  3. Focus on what matters. We might have different things upon which to focus. But, if those few things become the center, I will be less inclined to turn my attention to every other trivial thing demanding that I acquiesce. I will focus on Christ (advent, the church, the crèche), and I will focus on my family.

The End.

Except, not really.

img_3515Because I didn’t write anything about books, and that, after all, is why I’m here. This December I will be reading A True Novel by Minae Mizumura for the Japanese Literature Challenge 10 and for my own pleasure. Vishy and Nadia will be joining me I believe, and perhaps a few others. All are welcome, of course. Here is the blurb from the publishers:

A True Novel begins in New York in the 1960s, where we meet Taro, a relentlessly ambitious Japanese immigrant trying to make his fortune. Flashbacks and multilayered stories reveal his life: an impoverished upbringing as an orphan, his eventual rise to wealth and success—despite racial and class prejudice—and an obsession with a girl from an affluent family that has haunted him all his life. A True Novel then widens into an examination of Japan’s westernization and the emergence of a middle class.

The winner of Japan’s prestigious Yomiuri Literature Prize, Mizumura has written a beautiful novel, with love at its core, that reveals, above all, the power of storytelling.

Storytelling. Love. Christmas. All the things I want December to be.


9 thoughts on “December Is…”

  1. It’s good to take a step back and remind ourselves about the importance of getting things in perspective. I see so many articles about how to achieve the perfect Christmas. It just means people, feel pressured to make those fe days perfect so they end up spending too much money. It’s just a few days. No one will particularly mind if the tree is wonky or the xmas cracker gifts are cheesy. It’s part of the pleasure surely?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this post! I’m all about simplifying and focusing on what matters. You are spot on! And, I have my copy of A True Novel – I can’t wait to read it! Looking forward to your thoughts on it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Those are very good goals. Difficult to stick to, particularly re: the expectations I have of myself, but very worthwhile. I’d like my December to be calm and restful and cosy. Let’s hope we all manage to achieve that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a beautiful post. Every year we simplify, buy less, and celebrate more. We do a hot chocolate bar, play games, watch movies, make cookies, have a gingerbread house decorating contest, etc. It wasn’t always like that for us, and I don’t want to go back to that place.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There’s a reason the Church gives us the gift of Advent. It’s not a time to fill our homes, and our hearts, and our calendars, but to empty them, so that we might have a place to welcome Christmas, when it comes. You remember L’Engle’s poem, I’m sure:

    “This is the irrational season
    when love blooms bright and wild.
    Had Mary been filled with reason
    there’d have been no room for the child.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful post, Bellezza! I am looking forward to starting Minae Mizumura’s book tomorrow. Can’t wait to read it and discuss with you and others. Hope you are having a wonderful start to December! Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, love the sentiments of your post. What a perfect way to start December… on the note to self… simplify and accept. On reading, well I’ve just finished my exam and have time to rejoin the JLC. I already have a few lined up so, in keeping worth this post, I won’t promise to join in read A True Novel, but I’m tempted..

    Liked by 1 person

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