The kids are tucked into the living room tonight — a new tradition as of last year. They are asleep on the couches and the giant bean bag cushion in their new so-soft flannel Christmas pyjamas. The glow of the Christmas tree will shine on them all night long (we didn’t set up the automatic timer this year…) It’s an idyllic Christmas scene, even if Olivia sounds wheezy and was heavily medicated before being tucked in and Luke is just barely getting over a cold himself.
It has been a good Christmas thus far and tomorrow looks like it will be a fun and relaxing day as well. Marc’s mom has been here for a week now and it is nice to be with family this year. So very nice.
Idyllic. Idyllic. Idyllic.
Tonight we went to church and participated in the Christmas Eve service. There was talk of rest after busyness and light in the darkness — a pretty realistic depiction of Christmas, really. And I consciously let myself sink into that message. Life has been stressful these past weeks and months. Some days and weeks are not easy. I feel like I’ve had a few goes this fall where I actually didn’t realize just how bad things were until it was all over.
But tonight I’m happy and I’m tucked into my bed in my own Christmas-y pyjamas (even if they were purchased on clearance in July and I’ve been wearing them since then).
I’m here now and I’m thankful — so thankful — for a night like tonight. A night of peace and joy.
And as I soaked in that moment in the service, lighting the candles and softly singing Silent Night, I thought of those I know who are not having an idyllic night or an idyllic holiday or an idyllic year. Truthfully, I thought of the faces of people I’ve seen these past four months in my first term of doing counselling work. And as we sang “all is calm, all is bright,” I said a pray for some of them and the pieces of their stories that they have shared with me, for those whose night may be neither calm nor bright.
And I sat there cuddled up with my little family… and yes, three of the five of us are sick, and the girls idea of letting me “do their hair” for Christmas was an elastic pulling their bangs out of their face, and Olivia may or may not have had to wipe her nose on her dress when I ran out of kleenex in the service … but still it was a peaceful night to sing of peace and joy and to know peace and joy. And I am thankful for these moments, after and even in the middle of sickness and stress.
Because the beauty of Christmas for me this year is a little more realistic. I feel like I know Christmas a bit more this year or that I am letting myself be known by it. Because it’s not all perfect or easy but that’s okay. I can lean into the light offered at Christmas just as I am. And these stories I’ve been hearing as I’ve sat with people over these past months, I can set them down by the light of the baby Christ too. A gift, really.
Like the imperfectly wrapped gift from a child, I set myself — all myself — up next to the light of Christmas tonight. I offer it and then I rest there. The sleep of Christmas. The sleep of hope and light in a dark world.
A merry, merry Christmas to you, tonight wherever you are tonight.