I hope you had a happy, healthy, merry Christmas with those you love. As for my part...
I think I missed it.
I feel this way every year when Christmas is over and the time has passed. I guess it has something to do with the way we build up to this holiday. We start when the sun is high in the summer sky, scouting out deals and picking out presents for our family and friends. We haul out the decorations way too early to make everything look as festive and seasonal as possible. The day after Thanksgiving brings Santa to the malls and non-stop Christmas music on the radio. There's wrapping and baking and cooking and eating and if you're like me and you're hosting the big family event, cleaning and more cleaning and then some more...cleaning. And it seems like once the Christmas "season" starts (if you can even call it that in August), you don't get one single moment to stop until the first bit of family comes blazing through the front door, wondering why in the world you're so sweaty. Even then, you don't feel like you really stop.
And then we fill this time with more events, things we should do. Things that sound fun to do. Like live nativities, Christmas plays, caroling, lighting ceremonies, cruisin' for lights, white elephant exchanges, parties here, parties there, and yes....oh, my God....yes, even Christmas Eve services at church. Midnight masses. Christmas morning worship. Whatever it is.
The day comes and then it's gone. After all of this build-up, all this planning, all this everything that goes into making the holiday the kind of thing you think it's supposed to be, it's all of a sudden over. I feel like I blinked and I missed it.
What I discovered this year, however, is that I think Christmas is in the blink. In the blink of that eye. In that almost-unnoticeable, instantaneous bit of darkness that just kind of shuts the world away for a second and gives you that stillness, that peace. That sense of quiet.
That's all I wanted this Christmas. Don't get me wrong; I love the holiday. I love the festiveness. I even received an invitation this year for "festive merriment." I love working up to it, giving good gifts, inviting family into the moment and into my home.
But I want some Christmas, too. This year, I found myself craving the quiet. Craving the stillness. Crawling into bed at night and realizing that I hadn't done anything to give myself Christmas this year. That the time was drawing near at the same time it was passing by, and I seemed to be missing all of it.
So I took a few nights just for myself. A few chances to soak it all in. A few moments to let myself rest. To quiet myself. To still myself in this season and just be overwhelmed by it all - instead of being overwhelmed by all of it.
I let myself linger in the blink. I let myself close my eyes for just a bit longer than I needed to. To let the snapshot of the moment linger behind my eyelids so that there wasn't all this distraction; I could see, and I could feel, Christmas.
It still feels today like I blinked and I missed it, but I'm grateful this year that that's not entirely the case. Because today, when I close my eyes again, I've still got those few moments. Those little times I was able for just a second to linger in the blink. Maybe I blinked and I missed it, but today, I blink and remember this Christmas.
It was somewhere in the blink.