The early morning still shrouded in darkness, reflections of twinkle lights shine in the glass, filling the frosty morning with warmth. I sit in my chair, coffee held tight in my hand. My journal and Bible lay spread open across my lap.
I am taken back through Christmas’s past, rosy-cheeked children waiting in anticipation and family gathered around the tree. Many years spent this way, loud and messy, spilling over with love. How they have all grown up, moved away, their own families making new traditions.
Christmas looks much different today. We travel to them, I no longer cook, no longer sweat the small stuff.
We have created new traditions in our empty nest. We elbow our way into the fray, into the crowds, in search of gifts, a bit of Christmas cheer. Scour the aisles for new things we may want to decorate with. I always seem to find a new tree, exclaiming, “This will be the last, this is the one we will use every year.”
We double over in laughter, counting the number of trees we have accumulated in our empty nest years.
This is exactly where we found ourselves when the poignancy of this past year came crashing in. Running our hands over decorations, doubled over in laughter, reliving past memories. The night our son’s dog ate the turkey. The year we recreated a Christmas Vacation family portrait, complete with matching dickies. The year our toy poodle snuck off with every little gingerbread cookie she could reach, tucking them away in shoes.
How we thought those were the days, ‘Till we found our footing in these days.
I looked at him, he at me, laughter quickly faded to tears. We had come so close to losing it all, brushed up against death. A collapse, a faulty valve, open heart surgery, the unexpected hard.
The gift of new life has not been lost on us. We have moved into this season with aching slowness, savoring our gift, savoring The Gift. Savoring the ordinary moments in our days, giving thanks as we sit in the reflections of THIS year’s tree and with a twinkle in our eye.