“I thank God for this most amazing day: for leaping greenly spirits of tress and a blue true dream of sky; for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” – E.E. Cummings
Christmas has come and gone, and I am sitting in the quiet dark of my living room reflecting on the magic that inevitably comes with this time of year. This was to be my first time hosting my most beloved holiday, and we were expecting relatives from both sides. I had planned our week…Zoo Lights, the candlelight Christmas Eve service at church, lots of cookie baking, holiday feasting, and of course, Christmas morning! I had bought and washed matching Christmas footie pajamas for the girls to wear on Christmas Eve…pink with reindeer and Christmas trees in alternating lines. It was the first time I had ever bought matching outfits for the girls, and the visions of their morning cuddles and excited squeals in identical fleece were so clear in my head. I could not wait! But like so many things in life, this week didn’t go quite as planned. In fact, it didn’t go at all as planned.
Eliza went to the doctor one morning to confirm what I had expected. She had an ear infection that needed antibiotics. Two days later on Christmas Eve, Amelia woke up from her afternoon nap with a mild fever. Just like that, Christmas Eve service was out. And four hours later, my morning dreams were really dashed…replaced by midnight laundry and baths to wash away all the sick. I hardly slept that night, but I still awoke with a glimmer of hope that the bug had run its course. It hadn’t. But despite all that, it was a beautiful day. It really was. There may not have been matching pajamas or sister cuddles, but the love was all there…the family, the traditions, and the moments of taking it all in and being blown away by the bounty of what we shared under the tree and around the table. I had my husband and my girls all day long with lots of help and comic relief from their Pappy, their aunts and uncles, and even four excited dogs.
As I reflect on it, I realize that our Christmas was perfectly in step with our 2014…a year that taught me lesson after lesson with one theme interwoven throughout: life is messy and hard and completely unpredictable, but it is also so good. And those two truths don’t alternate…it is everything all at once and all the time. And I think that’s in thanks largely to the people we share the journey with. I feel incredibly blessed for those people and so thankful to end this epic year in the company of so many of them. But more than anything, that joy and peace – peace that surpasses all understanding and certainly all circumstance – comes from the One whose birthday gives that precious holiday its name. Blessings to all in this special time of reflection, thanks, and hope. I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store!!