This evening, I am allowing myself a moment to think back on Decembers in other, more “normal”  years.  There was always a gathering with garden club friends, a delightful two hours where we chatted while designing wreaths and centerpieces made out of various pine branches, pinecones, real flowers and assorted berries. 

For several years now, for one evening in December, I typically called together our group of women friends.  Between snacking on a cheese tray and Christmas cookies, we made holiday arrangements and caught up on the news of our growing children.

There were church Advent suppers weekly throughout this month of December.  The simple menu called for soup, bread, salad and perhaps some holiday treats.  The highlight of the evening came from the music we sang together:  a delightful, simple and almost haunting melody that stays with you long after the last notes die away.

There were extra choir practices, too, filled with the sounds of this season.  Extra music to learn for seasonal pieces and for Christmas Eve especially.  Solos and small group ensembles to prepare.   

And then sports should also be happening right now.  Local high school basketball would normally be running several games a week at this point, with both girls’ and boys’ seasons well underway.  And lacrosse, there should be a “Yuletide” lacrosse tournament occurring.  

None of that is going on this year.  When I take all of that out of my life, there are holes that I don’t like.  I enjoy all these things. 

And so, the mental game of “find that silver lining” must be played yet again. Where is it when I catalog all that we are missing? What is the good that I can find in this unique year?

It’s tempting to just say that it is recognizing which activities give me joy or bring cheer to someone else.  It’s surely worthwhile to identify what I long to pick up again next year, and to have the opportunity to set aside something that we realize we don’t really miss. 

But I think there is a larger silver lining in this for me.  I think that 2020 is a year that forces me to look inward, to examine what I want this season to mean.

Although it’s not what I wanted to do right now, I am realizing that reflection is also a gift.