I took this photo at 8 a.m. this morning, so cold with lake fog rolling in from the water. It has been snowing, straight down, all morning, big fluffy flakes. In spite of everything, it’s quite beautiful out there. Oh, the problems are with us, from the election aftermath, the lost kitty, our internet that only sporadically works. With Christmas ten days away, I could make a really long list. The problems can feel like the shroud of snow enveloping the flower pots and picnic table out on the terrace, and covering the stone steps up to the garage.
Christmas. Some of my family members just grit their teeth to get through the Season. One of my daughters calls herself the “Captain of Christmas” but, even she is struggling for the Spirit this year. Fourteen years ago, when we left during our first Christmas in the lake house, Don asked me, “Will we never get to have Christmas again at our own house?” I told him, no, we won’t, so we might as well just accept that fact. Now that it turns out we are having Christmas Eve alone in the house–just Christmas Eve–he is crestfallen. The Season just can’t meet our Needs.
“Isn’t it funny that at Christmas, something in you gets so lonely for–I don’t know what exactly, but its something that you don’t mind so much not having at other times.” –Kate L. Bosher
At this point in my life, I’ve come to recognize that “something in you gets so lonely for” feeling that can freeze over you in the long dark nights of December, and that sadness in which “Christmas is a time when you get homesick–even when you’re home.” (Carol Nelson). It takes some diligence to look for all the means you can muster in order to stay warm. Like the hot water bottle I take to bed, the smell of hot spiced wine left on the stove, the flock of fat over-wintering robins on the porch yesterday, the Long Night Moon on the snow. It can be as elusive as trying to catch a fleck of stardust, or touch a rainbow, but, I swear, Christmas always ends up having those intangible moments, somehow, somewhere. If Christmas is anything, it’s about Believing, about Hope.