"Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance ~ each beautiful, unique and too soon gone."
She pulled the knitted blanket up to her chin as the cold blast of air entered the house with her husband. Arms piled high with firewood, he kicked the door shut. "It's a cold one," he said under his breath as he headed for the hearth.
"You shouldn't be going outside in this weather. How can you see anything?" It was their first blizzard since moving to the mountains. Both were wrestling with doubts over their recent decision to relocate to a higher altitude.
He nestled into his chair and removed his cap and gloves. "Not to worry. I'm not going out again. Not 'til it clears. Supper smells good, by the way." He reached over and patted his wife's lap.
"Everything is ready. I feel a bit silly for cooking so much food." She sighed. "I couldn't help myself...holding out hope the weather would clear and the kids would make it up afterall." She smiled at her husband, though both had the same heavy heart.
"It doesn't feel like Christmas without the kids," he said quietly, looking at their photo on the mantle. "This will be our first year without them," he added.
"We'll see them soon enough. We'll just celebrate a little late this year." She hoped her words would soothe his aching spirit.
"Let's face it, dear. They aren't going to make it up. They can't take time off from work to come see us. We are on our own." He picked up a log and set it strategically on the fire.
He looks so defeated, she thought to herself. And then it dawned on her. The best gift she could give this dear man was a happy Christmas, kids or no kids. She'd do her best to bring some Christmas cheer to the evening. She got up and headed for the CD player, careful to select an upbeat holiday mix.
She scarmbled off to the kitchen and grabbed the dishes and utensils. Humming to the music, she set the table for two, using their best holiday china. She lit the candles and set the food on the trivets. Their dog Max followed her every move, eager to be a part of her festive new mood.
"Honey, supper is ready," she announced, pleased with the outcome of her efforts. "Come to the table before it gets cold."
"He stood up and stretched his back. "I'm not that hungry, just so you know," he protested as he made his way to his seat in the dining area.
"Well, get hungry! I've made all our favorites. And I cooked for twenty!" She squeezed his hand and smiled.
"Why are you so cheerful all of a sudden?" he questioned with a scowl.
"It's Christmas! And I have all the reason in the world to be happy. I'm married to the man I love, even if he is a bit grumpy tonight. Our family is healthy and doing well. We have this cozy new cabin to call home, and more friends than we can count. Most of all, it's His birthday," she said, pointing upward. "If that's not cause for celebration, I don't know what is." She squeezed his hand a little harder. "Let's enjoy Christmas, dear. If we let it, this can be a memorable one for us."
"You're right." They bowed their heads and gave thanks ~ for their family, their new home, their friends, good health, and for each other. And they gave thanks for the Christ child who had blessed them with so much.
The rest of the evening was spent reliving Christmases past, and sharing their dreams for the future. They exchanged gifts and read the story of the first Christmas together. The warm glow of the fire, the little tree laden with lights, and the snow falling outisde their window was enchanting. And they realized they would indeed look back on this night fondly. Gratefully. Even joyfully.
Christmas is what you make of it. It can be all about decorating, shopping, presents, and good food. For some, it can be a time of sadness, a season when loss is felt most profoundly. But for many, it's a time of reflection and rejoicing.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, Christmas is about the Christ child. And that holy, mysterious night over two thousand years ago. A young woman and a bewildered husband. And a stable full of animals in attendance of a birth. A choir of angels, worshipping, telling of the great news. Whether we choose to celebrate it or not, the true meaning of Christmas is unchangeable ~ and yet so profoundly life-changing.
Glory to God on the highest! And on earth, peace and goodwill to all...
"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
~Attributed to a 7 year old boy named Bobby
"Christmas ~ that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance ~ a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved."
~Augusta E. Rundel
"Tradition: sit with husband in a room lit only by tree lights and remember that our blessings outnumber the lights. Happy Christmas to all."
~Betsy Canas Garmon
"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'"