Angels flock in joy.
Rest well with heavenly peace.
Christmas is a gift.
I was having one of those ‘Bah Humbug’ moments.
I’d just lost a mitten while shopping for my kitten.
I had been busily stocking up on emergency supplies at the store up the hill as a winter storm was coming.
Buying replacement mittens definitely was not on my shopping list.
But kitty litter, bread, milk, and lots of chocolate were. And all were fortunately within easy reach of the Santa cookie tins and one available smiling clerk humming “Let It Snow.”
I’m thinking their placement was geared towards keeping my spirits bright.
However, it didn’t.
I soon caught myself uttering another “Bah Humbug.”
Christmas fell off the top of my favorite holiday list way back when I was six.
That was the year the new doll smell and curly blonde hair of a baby doll delivered by Santa attracted the attention of our young beagle. Our dog thought she made the perfect chew toy.
The doll and my Norman Rockwell holiday were never quite the same.
It seems the annual arrival of frigid sub-zero weather with the holidays hasn’t helped my attitude either or all that crazy commercialism and greed.
Even family celebrations have grown a bit more bittersweet year by year.
It’s hard to forget the Christmas Eve when my late dementia stricken mother stared at her grandchildren across the dinner table and blurted out, “So who are you?”
Or the memories of sharing hospital meals of wilted salads and frosted Christmas cookies with my husband while he was in hospice three years ago.
But things really are beginning to look up.
Even in a year when peace and joy seem a bit hard to find.
Luckily, I just found that favorite mitten.
And I’m playing Santa for a few seniors, an animal rescue group, and the young children I work with.
I’m also hoping to share many more last minute smiles before the big day.
You see I once saw a flying Santa in the skies do the same.
It happened a few years ago.
I’d awakened at 6:00 a.m. to hysterical laughter on a holiday flight returning from Amsterdam.
The plane was packed full of travelers of all colors and nationalities. Many didn’t speak English.
It didn’t matter.
Everyone was looking up at the same movie screen smiling, sharing just a few brief moments of comfort and joy.
As well as those chuckles.
This time of year, no matter your beliefs, perhaps that’s what matters most.
I’d nearly forgotten that it was two years ago tonight when my husband Richard passed until I saw a reminder on Facebook this morning.
I surely had forgotten how to celebrate Christmas in the days and years leading up to Richards’s death and right after.
But this year, I awoke from the ghosts of Christmas past to a new Christmas.
And it’s a simpler one.
The Christmas tree and the decorations went in a recent move. But they were replaced with a single garland, a string of lights on the mantle, and a handful of ornaments from my daughter.
I found it was enough.
I then went and bought myself a Christmas gift.
It’s a memoir by a local writer I once knew.
And I opened my door and heart to a new dog from the shelter.
That, too, was enough.
Or maybe more so. Time will tell.
And when I attended a crowded church service this week, I gave up my spot to a father and son who were late.
I’d already sung my carols.
It was time for the young.
After driving home on slick roads afterwards, I checked my mailbox for bills.
I found a small box next to it, covered in ice and firmly glued to the front step.
After carefully prying it off, I found a simple candle inside etched with a tree of life.
It’s bright and full of warmth when lit.
Tonight I see the light.
And it’s glowing right before me through that tree.
I have choral music playing softly on public radio.
And the dogs are at my feet.
Together, we’re singing new songs this Christmas.
Busy making our own kind of music.