It’s that time of year again when we feel the pressure of too much to do, too many plans. I’m looking forward to all of it – it’s just that there’s so much happening at once. There’s our Wellspring solstice celebration on Thursday, which will be quiet and lovely, and then a church caroling party here on Friday, which will be noisy and boisterous. And then we have company coming at the weekend and into next week. I made a comprehensive list yesterday. Seven pages, including menus, shopping lists, schedules. So much for being in the present moment.
But in the midst of all the plans and seasonal hoopla, I know that it’s the simple gifts that matter most. The beauty of the snow drifting down in our backyard, the peace of a quiet day blanketed in white. The strings of colored lights going on all by themselves during my morning meditation – a miracle of modern technology, these timer things. The sweetness of hot water flowing over my body from a new shower head that my husband installed without even being asked. The luxury of quiet time at breakfast, reading the newspaper which is delivered by a kind and gentle woman who makes it through any amount of snow, every single day. The joy of singing in the church choir, raising our voices together in praise and gratitude.
With all this beauty and joy, the greatest gift for me this season is that my youngest granddaughter, Evelyn, is coming to visit (with her parents, of course). She’s alert, curious, intent on finding out about the world, active and mobile, and just old enough to participate in all the Christmas commotion. (She’ll be a year old in January. The day she turns two, a new president will be inaugurated.) I remember her father at that age, his beautiful open face tilted toward the tree, a little finger pointing upward, whispering “hot,” which he understood meant not to touch. There was magic in the lights and the sparkling tinsel, but most of all in his shining eyes. Evelyn is another such a gift to the world, and I’m delighted and grateful that her parents are able to bring her to share Christmas at our house. But it’s also true that every child is a holy child, Sophia Lyons Fahs reminds us, and that every night a child is born is a holy night. This season calls us to celebrate the birth of every new life in families around the world. I am so grateful for the simple joys of this season, for the sharing of time and love. May it be so for all of us.