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Every Christmas holiday season I make an attempt to share my love of this time of year via my blog. This year is no exception. Yesterday marked the final kickoff to Christmas, and was also the first day of Advent. Advent is the traditional build up to the birth of Jesus, which most Christian denominations celebrate as December 25th. I spent 1979-80 living in Southern (read CATHOLIC) Germany with my parents and brother. As a result, my formative Christmas memories blend in a lot of the German Advent/Christmas traditions into the secular Christmas I grew up with. 

At Mass yesterday, the Gospel reading talks about Jesus encouraging his disciples to stay awake. I had to laugh because that’s really what I did yesterday. I was up early and out later, which resulted in catching some truly spectacular photos. It’s a good reminder. It’s awfully easy to just ease into comfortable thinking this time of year, literally to fall asleep. You go on autopilot when you shop. You hit the lines for big sales, and don’t really enjoy it. You just move through the season, hoping it is all over soon. But what happens if you wake up? What happens if you go into your day, thinking not about your must do tasks, but thinking about how much fun you might have? What happens when you open yourself up for something good to happen, even if it requires you do a little extra work?

When I went out picture hunting last night, the first half dozen shots were okay. I was pretty sure that the sun was not going to give me anything spectacular. But I decided to hang out a few minutes longer, just in case. I was rewarded with glorious pinks, purples, and a pretty awesome shot. 

If I’d just shrugged my shoulders and moved on, no stunning shot. No big smile on my face. No sense of accomplishment. I had to push a little harder, but man it was so worth it. 

Every day can be special, you just have to stay awake and give it a chance.