Thursday, December 24, 2009

365-48: Silent Night

It's not silent at all, actually. Not yet. The baby (not a baby anymore) is chattering in her bed, the boys are running around, overwrought at the whole thing - the pageant tonight, and SANTA tomorrow. But, they will wind down, and the house will settle down around us. We've still got a lot of work to do: I've got a nice brunch to put together, and everything has to be wrapped. It will get done, I'm sure, and I'll enjoy a glass of wine while I do it.

The house I grew up in was at the end of a dead end row, 10 houses on the street, on a hill. Sometimes in the winter, it would be too icy to get up the hill, and we'd have to park at the college and tramp home through the woods. I have a memory from being a teenager, so clear (true? I don't know), of coming home from the late-night Christmas church service at the Episcopal church we attended (back when I believed), and we got stuck on the hill, and had to go park and walk through the woods. It was cold, and so clear. It was dark, they hadn't yet built up that part of campus, not the way it is now, and we came to a part of the path where the woods drew back, a small clearing. I remember looking up and seeing the amazing array of the Milky Way stretched out above and just being filled with a feeling too profound for words.

I'm not sure what this has to do with anything. Christmas right now is more work than anything for me. We do go to a Christian church but my theological belief system is far from clear to me right now. I'm drawn to belief, yet I resist it. I want to be that perfect, always patient, always loving and kind and soft-spoken mother who never loses her temper and created perfect memories for her children, but I'm not. I threw an honest-to-god, mercifully brief, temper tantrum today when I discovered the kids had thrown the clean, folded laundry on the floor. There was shouting, a door may have been slammed.

And yet...there's so much about Christmas in the Christian church that resonates, and it's the same things that resonate about why I celebrate the Solstice. There's darkness all around, and always has been. People experience pain, loss, grief, devastation. And yet, I have hope for the world, for us. I believe in love, and joy. I believe in the light, and I believe that the light will not just overcome the darkness, it will heal the darkness, if we let it. Just like in that moment, when I was a teenager, so long ago, looking up and feeling filled with starlight. I believe that feeling, that joy is there for us. It's what keeps me going, really, those moments where I can just get out of my own way, and let the light in.

I am grateful tonight for those moments, and my own journey and faith that the journey is worth it. The light is there.

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