I love sitting in our dark living room with the Christmas tree as the only source of light, with the glow from the mix of small white and colored twinkle strands threaded through its fragrant Frasier Fir needles, both gently reaching out into the room and drawing my attention and my soul toward it. We found this tree among a stand of just a handful of others in the parking lot of our favorite grocery store, Central Market on North Lamar, on Small Business Saturday after Thanksgiving, when our youngest son and his wife were here with us from their new home in Wyoming, launching this holiday season with our reunion. It’s been my favorite holiday tree in years, filling our home with its coniferous scent, its branches the perfect mix of full and supportive to hold ornaments and witness abundance—an emissary carrying memories from the forest moving into the heart of our home for a month during the year’s darkest season—and open enough to let the sparkling light through, from trunk to tips. I’ve been witness to its beauty, grateful for its grace, in awe of the personal peace and stability its presence indicates, whole systems of support and function.
A week ago, because of extended family logistics, we pretended it was Christmas Day. We had a Very Merry Early Christmas, a whole day of our rhythms of stockings, of brunch, of presents, of games and music and being together, soaking in the delight of each other’s faces and voices and spirits, saturated in each other’s cherished company. Since then, I’ve sort of floated through the flurry of larger societal preparations for the 25th, savoring the sweetness of time with my people, having taken care of and nurtured them and looking forward to even more connections (a matinee with our oldest son today; dinner at a sister’s tonight; the afternoon at my brother’s tomorrow).
Today, this actual Christmas Eve, I’m sitting in contemplation and meditation, holding you in my heart, my family—immediate, extended, of origin, by choice—my friends, their families, their friends, the connectedness of all of us, the here and elsewhere, of earth and heaven, of place and space, of now and memory. I’m feeling oceans of love over a lifetime and tsunamis of loss this year, high and low tides of joy and grief, the ebb and the flow of gathering and solitude. I’m grateful for feasting and fasting, for miracles and waiting, for hope and for wonder, for the Center from which all this emanates—and I’m wishing for you fullness of heart and buoyancy of spirit, whatever you’ve been required to hold this year. May there be an outpouring of blessings for you and yours.