Christmas week may seem to be a strange time to think about worry. But we all know it can creep through any still, quiet morning before we are fully awake to meet the new day. Until today, I don’t think I’ve ever read about the subject. The only advice I’ve ever received is, “Oh, don’t worry about it.” Or “Worry doesn’t accomplish anything.”
Today, however, as I was resting, thinking if I started reading I might slip into a power nap, I read a wonderful essay by Fanny Britt, “Writing While Worried.” (If you are a reader, you should know about Granta magazine: you can Google it.) As I read about her worries, the one that hit her when she was caring for her sick child—it was only a bout of the flu—one line struck me: “Worry bestows intensity with one hand while robbing vitality with the other.”
Wow. If you answered “yes” to my title question, please read that sentence again.
She gives a bit of advice, actions that she recommends to herself. The section of the essay which resonated with me is her mention of authors, primarily Laurie Colwin, a name unfamiliar to me. Colwin was a fiction writer but also a food writer before foodies appeared on the scene. She explains her admiration, saying, “Colwin is ever the advocate of a life redeemed by the stubborn repetition of the small necessary acts of everyday living. Cook, eat, clean up, start again. A life of work tempered by communion.”
Is that why I love the season of Christmas with all of the little repetitions I’ve been doing for all of my adult years: shopping for a perfect gift, baking traditional cookie recipes, decorating with the same ornaments, year after year, and placing them in the exact same spot time and again. The routine as an antedote to my angst for the world, our country, my family. What’s next. When will the shoe drop.
This past week a friend asked in a group setting how we were all planning to put Christ in our Christmas. Yesterday I heard a scholar say she has one foot planted in religion and one foot out. I think that’s me. Yet I know Christmas is a time when I think more of living a Christ-like life, doing for others and thinking more contemplatively. It’s no coincidence that just after Christmas we search for a New Year’s resolution.
“Star of wonder, star of night, star of royal beauty bright.” Time to look up, look out, and love the season of Christmas.