Swimming through puddles and a gray Christmas

 Kel just took Noelle to buy Gravy. We are eating some thanksgiving leftovers for dinner and our gravy meter was on absolute zero so clearly this was a life or death WalMart run. This leaves me the first quiet moment I have had in days. My craving for this moment overshadows any cravings I have had for all of the Thanksgiving fare available to me in the past few days.

Let me start by stating the obvious. This holiday season has been and is going to be majorly rough. I have had no fewer than seven minor nervous breakdowns contemplating how to pull off Christmas 2010. The only real thing I have come to know for sure is this won’t be the merriest of Christmases. I have my three trees up, which sounds impressive but really they’re a grove of trees. And no it’s not because I love to relate them to the “three trees” Christian children’s book. It’s solely because I like them, and I like things in odd numbers. Little known fact: we had to add an extra bridesmaid and groomsman to our wedding party bc I have this strange quirk of loving odd numbers.
So, back to this Christmas season, I am ready for the peaceful moments of it, I hope huge to see some snow before its all over. However, the overwhelming feeling I have going on is longing. I long for a “Glory Days” Christmas. Let me explain: In the glory days my Dad was around to pump out Christmas cheer like a snow machine. He was the king of the Christmas bargain and he turned our house into a Christmas cookie factory. Our family had the sacred tradition of hanging the “cosmic santa” ornament, which is, not surprisingly Santa in a space suit and helmet. Only Dad got to hang him and he had to go near the top. I knew what to expect out of a “Glory Days” Christmas. Tradition, Family, Snow, Comfort.
So here we go, Christmas 2010. Both my parents are gone. The home I went home to for Christmas will be on the market. No one lives there anymore, that home is now dead too and cosmic santa is in a box somewhere, and won’t be on a brightly lit tree this year. Although I have dibs on him and will try to make it up to him in 2011. I have a blank slate for new traditions for our new little family, but I long for a comfortable Christmas that was all figured out for me. Many of you will get a comfortable and familiar Christmas. Know that I am a little jealous, but happy for you.

Kel and I were talking today about Advent and how the real nuts and bolts of the Christmas story allows for the gray years in between the glittery ones. I really relate to the story of Anna and Simeon. These were the two older folks who experienced baby Jesus when Mary and Joseph went to the temple to consecrate and dedicate him. They had been fasting, praying and waiting for the savior of Jerusalem their whole lives and generations had done it before them. And when they met Jesus, they rejoiced that the redemption of the brokenness of Israel was starting right then. The Bible tells us they could die happy and at peace having met Jesus and gotten to see with their own eyes the baby boy who would be their salvation. They had experienced many gray seasons of waiting and groaning. But that was their glittery Christmas.

Our beautiful Christian faith has room for Gray Christmases and in the story of Anna and Simeon the gray ones outweighed the . But the one far made up for all the years of pining and waiting. Now, I don’t expect to have decades of tough Holiday Seasons before I have one that is lively and cheerful. But, I do expect this one to be as easy as swimming through figgy pudding, or banana pudding. I have never had figgy pudding so I’d rather relate to a pudding I know I enjoy. And as tough as this is it’s good to know that the hard years come, and I don’t have to fake the cheer, I can have my Christmas and be where I am at, it’s in the bible folks.

So this evening, in the quiet space of my living room I take as big a breath as my very pregnant body will give me and I commit this Christmas to my God, to honesty, to lots of grace, and to the full knowledge that just because he came to heal all that is broken, does not meant that all that is broken is whole this year. Is there anything more beautiful and cozy than that truth in the midst of a painful gray Christmas? Not for me there isn’t. Not even a huge bowl of banana pudding.