There's a whisper of advent, but somehow the shop decorations and the christmas music just drift past me this December. We are living out of suitcases for these two months and we'll drive home a couple of days before Christmas. The kids bring some hand made decorations home but the tree is packed in a box, in the garage, five hundred kilometres away. I don't tell them I'm relieved, but I am. I suspect that putting it up the day before Jesus' birthday will be joyous.
We drive along the broad river's edge and they beg me to listen to 'Mazing' and 'Holy Moly', so the car and my ears are full of praise songs. I even sneak a carol in but that's not on their list of favourites. I don't have any Christmas cards and I don't have any guilt about that, because "this year's different". I've permission to sneak up on Christmas and I wonder about making a habit of it.
In being away and in travelling home, in not having all the paraphenalia, there's a glimpse of Mary and Joseph's journey. In this year's novelty there is a freshness to Christmas. I'm not dragging myself to the finish-line, I'm stealing quietly in at the back of the celebration, and finding welcome there.