Wednesday, December 25, 2013

don't get me wrong

Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas!

When I was a child, Christmas was a very big deal at our house. I grew up on a Christmas tree farm where we celebrated the approach of Christmas with each passing season--planting in the spring, pruning through the summer, and harvesting in the fall... the cold, in the gloom, in the snow...until the yard was piled high with trees. At Christmastime the place came to life with young and old alike. Back then, whole families drove out from the city for a visit to Pine Hill Farm to select a tree, or to cut their own. Then we welcomed them in out of the cold with hot chocolate and cookies before we saw them off.

Our entire life revolved around Christmas and creating holiday memories for others. This probably explains why we still trek out into the cold to cut our own tree every year--the memories are just so sweet.

By contrast, this is the quietest Christmas on record for me. The house is empty. We have no special plans for the day, although that will change on Saturday when the kids come home to enjoy a belated Christmas. There will be eleven of us for dinner...with four rambunctious dogs...a circus to be sure! 
Until then, this is the perfect time for me to reflect on the season--on its beauty, its joys, and its meaning.

Today was a good day to read. A good day to write. A good day to worship. And...a quiet time to ponder the problem with Christmas...because, for me, it isn't the easiest celebration to pull off.
The problem is that I have friends who are sick in fact that this could be that last Christmas they see. I have friends who are grieving. I know people who are alone today. And most likely, you do, too.
Enter sorrow. Enter despair. Enter bitterness, anger, and fear...on one of the happiest days of the year.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed my quiet Christmas day. I'm grateful that I had time today to embrace the part of my heart that aches for all who cannot celebrate this day. I'm glad that I remembered my friends. That it was quiet enough for prayer. That I spoke with my children, and walked my dog in the woods, and shared a quiet meal with my husband.
Of course I wish everyone could be merry today. That everyone had hope. That everyone was at peace...because that is how Christmas is engraved in my heart.

Just one more thing. I was reminded of my father today when I came across this image:

 ...because in the winter he, too, fed the birds out of the palm his did St. Francis of Assisi, I believe.
Except that when my father did it, it was 20 degrees below zero out there!
Wishing each and every one of you a peaceful
and blessed Christmas~~


  1. Throughout the day I kept thinking of all the Ontarions who were without power due to the ice storm..displaced in shelters...the homeless and the alone. It made me appreciate my rowdy crowd that much more.

    1. Having grown up in the snow belt south of Buffalo, I know exactly what you mean. Rowdy is good!