Halloween is over and November has arrived, so it’s official: The high holiday season is upon us. With that, we all start preparing for that most wonderful, and most expensive, time of the year. For those of us who celebrate the Incarnation, however, there’s more to this time of year than wrapping paper, Scotch tape, and near-constant Amazon Prime deliveries. For many of us, this time of the year is about pausing to remember the most important things in life; the eternal things.
With that in mind, I thought we’d start November with a few things I most look forward to at this time of the year. Shopping is not on the list:
- Cooler weather: We live in a very tropical climate; so much so that the temperature this Halloween was 90 degrees. The hot humid blanket has been hanging on to us for what seems like longer than normal this year. However suddenly, as if on cue, the projected high temperature for today, November 1st, is between 79 and 80 degrees. That may not sound like cool weather, but relatively speaking, it’s fabulous. Hopefully, from here we can settle down into our normal “wintery” mid-70s temperatures.
- Outdoor fall festivals: This is the time of year for art festivals, free movies in local parks, charitable 5K races, and numerous other opportunities to get outside and soak up the weather that made Florida a favorite winter vacation spot from the late 19th century onward.
- Thanksgiving: This is the holiday that we spend the most time with extended family, and because ours is a family full of women who not only can cook, but enjoy cooking together, preparing the meal is more fun time than a burden, as it should be. I am suddenly remembering this book, which I read to my kids:
- Christmas Decorating: To be honest, this is not my favorite thing, but it’s included here because I love seeing the joy it brings my husband and kids to decorate for the Christmas season. And once it’s all done, the festive atmosphere is very uplifting. I do enjoy seeing the wreath on the door!
- Advent Devotions: One of the things I have become increasingly wary about over the past ten years is the crass commercialization of Christmas that we excuse by slapping platitudes such as “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!” on things that have little to do with Christ’s Incarnation. Picking and reading a book devoted to reminding me of why we celebrate and how we should celebrate tempers a lot of that uneasiness in me. Jesus does indeed become the reason for the season.
- Holiday movies: We kicked things off on Halloween with Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, and every week I hope we’ll be enjoying an uplifting, family-friendly production that reminds of the angels’ greetings to the shepherds in the field keeping watch over their flocks by night: “And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14).
Those are a few of the things I anticipate as we move into the most wonderful time of the year.