WE JUST GOT IN FROM AN AMAZING CHRISTMAS PARTY.
It was so much fun. My husband's best friends invited us over, and it was great - the people were all nice and the food great. It was a lovely break from the ordinary.
I suppose that is part of what I enjoy so much about Christmas time. The world pauses from its regular schedule. People throw parties and give one another gifts. Kids sing or play instruments, and families gather. I always love the contrast of the cold air outside, and the warmth of the inside - families, and fireplaces, and bright lights. It is Christmas in a nutshell.
The Husband was gone pretty much all day. He had a gig out of town, and like any Rock Star, his call time was 9 a.m. Yes, you are reading that correctly. It was an early show. They had to make sure that the whole show was wrapped up by two o'clock and there were quite a few bands there. Why two o'clock? Everyone at the concert were homeless, and right around two is when they start making sure they get into the shelters for the night. He and his band have been holding concerts there for two years now. He knows a lot of people that come and he doesn't mind the two hour drive there and back.
That's the other contrast I always feel at Christmas time; the contrast between those who have and those who don't. I love the biter cold of December, except when I think of my homeless students. I cannot imagine having no warm place to go to escape the cold. And of course I think of those who I've lost. Every year at work we have an ugly sweater contest, and every time I think of Will wearing that bright pink, hideous too small sweater. He won that contest in December, and by February he was gone from us. I think of my grandparents, and how much they loved the holidays. I know my parents miss them even more than my children and I do. I think of my sister, who is far from us, serving others, and wish she were here to go to the midnight Latin service at the Lutheran church in town.
Christmas is such a lovely time. It can be so joyous. I'll never forget the sound of the Boy's voice saying, "He came! He really came!" It was a beautiful way to wake up. The sweetness of it lives with us still. And yet, Christmas can be so difficult. It can remind people of what used to be and what they've lost.
Kindness becomes all the more important then, during this season. Kindness for those who have no loved ones to share Christmas dinner with, or for those who have no living room in which to place a Christmas tree. I think of my students who hope in their hearts for their wishes to be fulfilled, and know that their parents long to give them things they wish for, but there just isn't enough money. We must look for ways to shower one another with compassion. We cannot wait for another day or a better time. Now is always the best time.
Let every blinking light on every Christmas tree be a flashing reminder of all that must be done. The world desperately awaits the sweet voice of kindness inviting everyone inside. "Come, you are all welcome. There is room for everyone here."