My kids are not kids any longer. Christmas eve is no longer about heady anticipation or the manufacture of magic so that it will be ‘special’ for our little ones. (But then again…) Mostly, despite the nostalgia, this feels like a release.
But still we are surrounded by Instagram ideals. They are not real, but are still powerful.
Here is my suggested response; let us step aside and remember to accept what is given.
Take a few moments in the press of the day-before to look around and acknowledge what you have, in all its chipped-paint beautiful imperfection.
The Christmas tree may be wilting, but if you take up one of those dropped needles and pinch it between your fingernails, it still smells of the deep forest.
Where there are families, there may also be sharp squabbles and old rolled-eye frustrations. But there will also be great love.
The dinner you cook may not look like those shiny feasts on the TV adverts, but still it is likely that you will eat until you can eat no more.
The sofa you slump down on may sag in one corner and the TV remote require tape to hold in the batteries but who cares, because you are home.
I love it that at the heart of the Christmas story, the is no ideal. No soft bed, no picture-perfect beginnings. Instead there is a teenage couple, travelling to pay homage to an invading empire, and one of them is heavily pregnant with another man’s baby (because any other explanation must have seemed like craziness.) It is the story of teenage love, in all its up and down extremes. The sort that we say ‘will never last.’
Out of this little bubble of love and kindness, there came in to the world goodness that is almost impossible to understand.
From this small broken beginning, the Mercy, which was already within us, also came to us in the form of a baby…
The stable, BC
Hold me close, my gentle love
The night is cold and hollow
Make me a cave
Within your arms
And deep within I’ll
See that floor all trodden down?
Let it be our carpet
Make me finest silk
From this feed-sack
Let’s whisper dreams of things to come
When we are done with caring
When what we have
Will be enough
With a little spare for
The light from stars is far away
It takes a long time falling
So just for now
It is enough
To hear your gentle