The week before Christmas I ask myself so many simple questions. The kind of questions that have clear answers. Not like the questions I often pose here in these letters. These questions can often be answered by looking in their fridge. They are a relief in some senses. Do I have potatoes? Are there eggs for Christmas breakfast? When does the turkey arrive? Did I pick up a present?
This week is simply about preparation. We ready our lives to celebrate. We open our homes to guests and we may visit others homes as guests. Even if it is just us in our own little house we celebrate a little. It is Christmas.
This time of year I often think of childhood Christmases. They were not all perfect but there was plenty of good. There is no perfect Christmas, just our Christmas. The legs fall off the turkey, someone cannot make it to dinner, no batteries for the new remote something or other, and maybe someone making a point a little too loudly across the table.
Whatever happens, happens, and we can just be there with all the grace we can muster.
Because grace is often the gift we need.
Plenty of love. We need that too. And Joy, and a bit of foolishness, and letting down our guards and hoping. We always need hope.
So much waiting.
So much preparation and readiness.
Mostly from my childhood I remember my anticipation. I would wait for the day. I would wish for time to go by. Now of course, it is the anticipation itself that I relish. The waiting itself is the thing I love.
A string of lights. A bit of baby's breath on the tree. Cherry cake. Cans of baklava sent from relatives far away. These things that come before the event are events themselves. And they brighten our lives, lift us out of the everyday. They brighten the darkest days of the year and remind us of the love surrounding us.
When I flick on outdoor lights, I think of the drivers passing by and how those lights remind them of the season we are in. A season built upon love. How on a dark evening their world is lit up a little as they pass by. I think how it makes the yard easier to get around in when people come to our door. The lights are a sign of good will and cheer, lighting the way through winter.
A little light in the yard to lead the way. Little mini lights of hope.
And what do any of us really hope for if not for peace.
Peace in the heart.
Peace at the table,
Peace in the Valley.
And that is my hope for you and for me on this Christmas Eve. That we let the light in our hearts glow.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick