The Spirit of the Season

Just now I have decided to stop rushing around–just for a few moments–and breathe in the spirit of the season.

I am a “Christmas-all-year” kind of girl, and so when I can, I sit and allow the beauty and wonder to become part of me so that I can carry them with me wherever I go from now on. Does that sound a little weird? Let me explain.

I need to absorb the look of the fireplace with the stockings hung and the greenery on the mantle.When I call up the image in days, months, and years to come, it needs to be so vivid that I can remember how the lights from the garland reflect up on the Santa bear perched at one end and the fluffy feathers of the angel’s wings at the other. I want see that my mother’s stocking is the white one with the gold studs on the right, and Santa will leave it full for her even though we’ll have to take it to her in the nursing home this year.

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I need to stare–yes, stare–out the window at the neighbors’ lights so that ever-after when I look at their houses I can close my eyes and see them all lit up for the holidays. Across the street they have new twinkle lights on the trees in front, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how they are doing it. It is as though the trunk and branches are studded with diamonds, and a green light is reflecting sparkles off the prisms of each. The brilliant points of light twinkle way up to the top of the trees, which could only be reached by a cherry-picker. I’m fairly sure they didn’t hire specialized construction equipment to achieve this illusion, so I can either ask them or accept it as magic. Right now I’m leaning toward magic.

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And my tree! Oh my tree! I never got it finished this year, because of the myriad of tasks that have to be done for my mom, but I don’t mind so much. It stands tall and proud and beautiful as though it knows that it is the special guardian of my spirit for the year. I rock in the chair where I rocked my babies to sleep, and I see the pictures of the boys in their popsicle stick frames angled so they are the first thing I see. The mouse ornament that Steve gave me when I thought it was an engagement ring hangs in its place of honor front and center. It is ground zero for the creation of our family. The light shines in a particularly beautiful way on the glass ornament we bought in Venice. The ballerina elephant Cathy gave me is poised to twirl away. Baby’s first Christmas ornaments for both boys remind me of the years that they first hung on our tree. Kevin was six weeks old his first Christmas. Brian was six months. Etc, etc, so on and so on. As I close my eyes and write, their images are clear and crisp, and I know they will stay with me.

If you ever see me sitting, breathing slowly and deeply, my eyes closed and my expression far away, know that I am very possibly calling on the memories of my Christmas spirit to remind me what a wonder-filled and beautiful thing life can be.

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