We have a tradition in Austria where we decorate an Advent Wreath with four candles and other sorts of decorations and then every Sunday we gather around with our family and sing Christmas carols and watch the candle light burn. Growing up we sang every year and celebrated Christmas in full bloom but as we got older the songs became shorter, the wreath became duller, and it seemed like my whole family just wanted to get it over with. Some Sundays we'd even forget to sing or made the excuse of being too busy. Last year was hard. It was my first Christmas away from home and there was nothing that felt like Christmas in this foreign country, the Christmas markets, gingerbread cookies, and trees combined didn't feel like home or Christmas, none of it felt right. Last year I bought myself a little Advent Wreath and every Sunday I would Skype my mom and we would sing together. We sang our little hearts out, English songs, German songs... we skipped from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to Stille Nacht. It felt like home, it felt like home hearing my mom sing with me and it made getting through the whole month just a little bit easier.
Today is the first Sunday of December and I have my Wreath with my pretty white bows and pretty white candles. My mom called on Skype to sing like we did last year and I just couldn't. I broke down sobbing midway through the first song. I don't try to cry anymore, I don't try to show my mom it hurts me still so damn much being away from home, I don't want to make it harder for her.. but today I couldn't. While last year it made things easier and felt familiar and welcoming, this year it felt like a constant reminder of memories I can't live again. It reminds me that I'm not in my house with my family with our Christmas tree and lights. It reminds me that for a second year now I'm going to be alone for the holidays. I know I miss everything but I try not to feel it most of the time but right now it's hard to numb it away and pretend it's not there. I don't actually know where I'm heading in life and I'm unhappy with where I am, what I'm doing, and honestly have no idea what to do with my future and all I really want to do is to feel close to love again. Feel close to my family and friends that I can hug and cry with, laugh and joke and smile and feel, I miss feeling. I miss not having to feel like I don't feel a thing. I miss my Christmas traditions and holidays with my brothers, the dogs and cats almost knocking over the tree, and the smell of cookies all through the house. I miss the ribbons that lined our staircase and the four candles that burnt so bright. Everyone is going home for the holidays and being together and such and I just feel alone and numb. It's so much harder this year and sometimes I can't pretend that everything is ok. Christmas traditions may be silly, they may be strange but they're important, so please.. this holiday season enjoy every second of them. Enjoy the bad sweaters and hot coco and believe in the magic of Christmas because you never know when it'll be gone, you never know what will happen tomorrow, or next year and the holidays are important. So take time out of your busy chaotic life and spend some moments with the family, the uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews, cousins and pets. It's December 1st 2013 and that's absolutely insane, life is moving so fast and we're all getting older and growing wiser so please, enjoy the little things and light a candle tonight for the first Sunday of days.
Happy Advent Sunday Everyone.