It’s hard. Holidays are hard maybe every year, with all the family gathered, or trying to gather, pretending to be blissfully happy in all the hub-bub. I do remember some truly happy holidays, especially Christmas. Sometimes the happiness is real, sometimes not. Either way, the weather of Christmas usually fits, if we get winter.
I love winter, if it’s real, without those untimely flowers in January. Winter is cool and cold and offers its strange bare warmth. If people can’t find warmth, it’s easy enough and feels good to offer warmth like a soft blanket or warm socks or just company, just standing in the cold with somebody while somebody smokes a cigarette, one hand in the other pocket.
Waffle House is always open, for people who don’t have anywhere to go, or don’t want to go, to be with family at Christmastime. Waffle House is a ministry on holidays. At Waffle House, at least one cook or one waitress will be there to greet you, usually more. They might not like it, but they show up for us.
If you’re lonely or broken or broke for the holidays, you know what it means to feel like tangled Christmas lights all strung out because of the holiday blues, which can turn as dark as indigo. One woman whose family is breaking up told me she found some Christmas lights in the basement, so tangled she was thinking of throwing them away. How will her Christmas be this year? Maybe she’ll go to Florida. She loves Florida.
One year I bought a little fiber-optic Christmas tree and all you had to do was plug it up and waves of gentle colors glowed into the night. I loved turning off the house lights, staring at that peaceful tree, which never made a fuss of itself. Maybe I’ll buy another one of those little trees with the waves of colors, like deep pink and deep blue and maybe deep green. My favorite on Christmas trees is all blue, wintry blue.
Today Ms. Linda said it’s almost time to put up the Thanksgiving tree at the center. She said it would be okay to put on autumn-colored lights, like gold and orange. Then she said it would be time for the Christmas lights. Maybe I can find all blue lights, the miniature twinkling kind.
The other night I heard a preacher talk about when the Virgin Mary became pregnant with the Christ child, about how this teenage girl, who had never known a man, was told by the angel Gabriel that she would bear a child by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would overshadow her and she would bring forth Jesus, sent to save His people from sin. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son….” When Mary heard this news, she said, “Let it be done….”
Mary consented to having her whole life tangled up so God could give you and me and the whole world a Savior and a Blessed, Thankful and Holy Christmas. Just thinking about it calms me down. When I think about Jesus, it helps. He knows about tangled lights and Christmas. He’ll be there with us. If we ask, He will absorb all that sorrow into Himself. He is able to bless us with His Glorious and Joyful and Peaceful Presence. He promised to keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Him. It’s hard to believe Christmas is on the way.