Several years ago, I attended a Blue Christmas service, led by a pastor-friend. It is a service during Advent to help those who are experiencing loss or struggles, acknowledging that the Christmas season is difficult in their circumstances.
It would have been beneficial to attend such a service this year.
I have been preoccupied with caregiving responsibilities and concerns over these last months, which don’t pause just because it is December. I outsourced nearly all the Christmas preparations to my family, even sending holiday cards and letters, which has long been one of my highest priorities. I couldn’t make myself try to sum up what has been a complex year, so spouse B and daughter T wrote a letter instead.
One of the blessings of this year, though, has been that our Christmas celebration has been elongated, starting with St. Nicholas Day on December 6th, which we observed so that we could celebrate with daughter E and granddaughter ABC before they left to spend several weeks with son-in-law L and his family in London. My older sister and her husband came to visit weekend before last. T and I attended Christmas Eve mass at 6:00 last night, with the instrumental ensemble and choir and the handbell choir. T loves handbells and ringing, so it was wonderful to hear them, especially with the new addition of handchimes.
On this Christmas morning, we opened stockings and a few presents, given that we already did stockings and gift exchange for St. Nicholas Day. We will have dinner at noon with Nana and Paco, bringing Nana over from her room in skilled nursing to the main dining room for the holiday buffet, as we did at Thanksgiving. Tomorrow, my younger sister and her family will arrive for a couple of days.
Still, it is difficult for me to feel festive. It’s hard to marvel at the wonder of the Incarnation while thinking about logistics and everyday details.
Perhaps, that is the message, though. The wonder of the Incarnation is that it arrived by everyday means, the birth of a child in complicated circumstances, something that happens around the world every day.
Perhaps, I can take that message into my own heart today, reminding myself that the spirit of Love is within and around us in our everyday experiences, if we only reflect and notice.
Wishing that spirit of Love to each of you,