I had a customer meeting yesterday morning and as I was signing in, my pen stopped cold turkey next to “date.”

“Is today the fourth?” I asked the receptionist.

She looked at me as if there was no way she was going to announce my arrival since I was clearly an idiot with no business being there.  “Uh, no.  It’s the seventh,” she rebukingly reminded me.

How does December not only creep up on us so quickly but seemingly leaves us in the blink of an eye?  It’s not like we don’t know it’s coming, and it’s not like the general population doesn’t look forward to it with painstakingly high expectations of perfection.  From the sparkling lights hung with care to the gently falling snow flakes at just the right time to the happy family and friends awaiting our presence/presents with open fair isle sweater arms.

But we all know it never actually goes down like that.  The commercials and store fronts are liars and we are still the biggest suckers ever.

Year after year – and I am the worst offender – we get all ramped up for the season of cheer.  One big happy family of feeling in the spirit.

Yeah, I know you guys know where I’m going with this.  She just said “in the spirit” so now we’re gonna have to listen to her talk about the Holy Spirit or something.

Chill.  I’m getting there.

First let me tell you about Christmas at my house.  It’s a thing with me and everyone knows it.  Liv, my minimalist daughter, rolls her eyes every year as she asks me “How many trees, Mom?” but I know she secretly loves it.  It wouldn’t feel like home or Christmas to her otherwise.  Yesterday I was on the phone with my good friend and co-hort, Angela, happily talking mostly not about work and more about life when she snickered, “So how many trees?”

They are all up.  But it didn’t feel the same for me this year.  When Liv was little and there were gaggles of kids in and out of the house all season long, it felt more like Christmas.  More rewarding, more celebratory, and more worth the ridiculous amount of time, energy and effort decorating like you’re Chevy Chase entails.  I may have even cried at one point as I was hanging ornaments recently that contained macaroni noodles and my now almost twenty year-old’s little kindergarten face.  Where has time gone?  Yesterday was the seventh and yesterday…Liv was seven.

But then it hit me.  And I’m embarrassed to admit that it was like this “ah-ha” (which makes me roll my eyes when people say, yet I’m typing it nonetheless) moment when I realized:  Christmas is not about us.  It is about the birth of Jesus.  Some people bake Christmas cookies, some people bake a birthday cake for Jesus.  Some people put up eight Christmas trees, some people put up a nativity scene.

Who is it about?  What is it about?

When we wrap our heads around that and focus on the true meaning of the season, there is no way we won’t feel the Spirit.