When you have no one to be with on Christmas, it can be the loneliest day of the year.
The laughter of little children gleefully opening their presents, moms bustling in the kitchen, basting turkeys, warming home-made rolls, stirring gravy and laying out a delicious array of side dishes–all in silver and best china–are happy memories. Maybe, like I do, you’ve a little tree lit with white lights, laden with decades of beloved ornaments. Maybe it reminds you, as it does me, of the tall trees we went to the tree-farm in the woods to carefully choose and cut down ourselves, then tote home–the ones that every year we placed a few yards from our mammoth stone fireplace where our stockings were hung, ten-foot trees almost reaching our beamed ceiling traced with pine-fragrant roping, Scottish plaid bows, and sprays of holly. Over in the corner lay Heidi our dearest Newfoundland, and Olaf, our Bernese Mountain Dog–their eyes wide in watching their humans’ festivities, knowing soon it would be their turn for a long walk in the snow. Christmas music–from Renaissance chants to Handel’s Messiah to Charlie Brown–played on the pre-recorded I-pod (that thing no one but me uses anymore).
Christmas cuts to the core of what matters: family, friends, food, and deepest meaning of why Christmas exists: Christ. We cannot lose what can’t be lost.
Christ can’t be lost. Christ is Christmas. Christ is God with us. As the old Celtic prayer begins: Christ beside me, Christ before me; Christ behind me, Christ within me; Christ beneath me, Christ above me; Christ to right of me, Christ to left of me; Christ in my lying, my sitting, my rising…
There’s Christmas. We’re never alone.
Artwork: Our 1736 Shawnee-on-Delaware Home, watercolor, approx. 28″ x 25,” sold. What happy memories this historic village home/studio/gallery/eventually B&B, conures up. We lived there a dozen years, 2000 to 2012. Every day was an adventure, whether the dining room ceiling fell down just before guests arrived– revealing the original hand-hewn lath, or my six art class offerings kept me hopping, or my granddaughter who lived up the hill came to soar over our waterfall’s backyard stream on our giant swing.