December 31, 2012

grinch-y thoughts

It is New Year's Eve .... and I am remembering Christmas Eve:  snow falling outside; the presents wrapped, the halls decked, the children reviewing their lines for a program at church that night.

And I -

- I was thinking grinch-y thoughts.

This is exciting:  snow! and Christmas Eve programs! presents! and family reunions! feasting! cookies to & from neighbors! bows! ribbons! secrets & surprises!

The trouble is, I don't want exciting.  I mean, I like it, at first.  I feel .... well, excited.  And then I feel tired.  Let-down.  Longing for a quiet place to think.

[disclaimer:  not everyone is like me.  I know that.  It's okay if you LOVE LOVE LOVE excitement and just can't get enough of the Christmas adrenalin.  I just speak for some of the rest of us:  not everyone is like that, either.]

~ : ~ : ~

Midway through my day, I forgot about the Christmas Eve program that my children would be participating in.  I savored the thought of an evening together, candles and children and movie and popcorn and hopefully someone begging to open just one present, pleeeease?? so that my Farmer and I could say yes.  My very spirit sighed at the respite in sight:  a quiet space, for us to rest in each other.

And then I remembered - oh yes, the program.  The program, for which we would need to eat supper over an hour early so we could get to practice, and keep Lil' Snip up [again!] past his bedtime, and have no time together to savor the last hours before we celebrate Jesus' birth.

Grrrrrrrinch-y thoughts, mine were, dripping with sarcastic accommodation .....

~ : ~ : ~

It's true, though, no one twisted my arm to make me sign Sugar and Spice up for the Christmas play.  And so we went, rushing supper to drive through swirling snowflakes, to arrive in the church parking lot ... before even the director had gotten there.

Reverent music filled the sanctuary, dimly lit with [flameless] candles.  Ahhh ..... !

Peace reigned .... briefly, until more children trickled in, fairly warbling with excitement, and were garbed in appropriate costumes.  There was an excited run-through, excited not-so-quiet whispers in the front pews, and excited shushings.  Family and friends arrived to watch, murmuring excitedly about the weather.  The program was executed just as Christmas Eve children's plays always are:  with enough precious bumbling - and a real baby! - to satisfy all the parents and grandparents in attendance.

Afterward we chatted with a few friends, and then brushed the still-novel snow off our cars to head home.

Tucked excited children into bed by the light of the almost-full moon.  Wrapped that last present and set it under the tree with the others.

And then?  Did we two snuggle on the sofa and contemplate the incarnation, enjoying at last the quiet?  Make room for reverence there in our home?

The truth is, I don't remember.

All I remember from that Christmas Eve night is the few music-and-candle-rich moments in the sanctuary, the magic of children on a spotlit stage, and the wonder of the snow ...

... and that was enough, even for a grinch like me.

Merry (belated) Christmas, and a very happy new year to you all!

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