This post originally appeared at Leaven for the Loaf.
I look forward to Advent every year. I actually look forward to rummaging through the candle drawer for the little purple votives (and I know there’s a pink in there somewhere). I like putting a purple-beribboned wreath on the front door, even when it’s a premade bow from the craft store tacked on to artificial greens. I like the app that puts daily Advent readings onto my tablet. Lest you think I’m burnishing a halo, I hasten to assure you that I don’t have one. I’m just a very plain human being who knows a good thing when she sees one. And Advent is decidedly a Good Thing.
Charlie Brown never worked retail
I was a kid when A Charlie Brown Christmas debuted on TV way back when. In the show, Charlie Brown bemoans what he knows is an over-commercialized season. I still love that show after all these years, even though I know that the kid obviously never had to work retail to support his family.
Have you ever worked in retail? You know, one of those businesses that depend on the last two months of the year for a third of the year’s revenue? The kind that makes you listen to Christmas holiday music on every shift beginning right after
Thanksgiving Veteran’s Day Halloween? The kind where you work until close of business on December 24, whereupon you collapse and want to sleep for a week?
I have. It was hardly involuntary servitude. I had great bosses and coworkers and customers. It was a new small business, featuring chocolate and coffee, and we all had the exhilarating and well-founded feeling that each thing we did could mean the difference between staying open and going under. December had to be huge for us. We all pitched in and pitched hard. Thank you, December shoppers. You made sure my bosses could pay me. That job was a blessing…and it absolutely drained me. When I locked the shop door at 3 p.m. on my first Christmas Eve there, I was ready to keel over. I hadn’t had time to shop for my husband and kids. I hadn’t done any advance prep for the extended-family dinner I was supposed to have ready by 6. I wanted to go to Midnight Mass but had no idea how I’d be awake for it. (In fact, I can’t remember if I got there.)
I wasn’t ready for Christmas. I had dropped Advent.
Read the rest of the post at Leaven for the Loaf.