Christmas Eve is my most favorite day of the holiday season and I try to reserve it for simple joys: watching the sun rise at a decent hour and then seeing a dusk come that is like no other time of the year, filling the daylight hours in between with cooking and preparing for tomorrow's gathering with family, visiting with friends and calling on neighbors with homemade cookies, seeing the college kids from the neighborhood at home and so grown and changed from their short time away, the long afternoon church service with candles and bell-ringers.
Once it was dark today I took a break from the kitchen and drove through the downtown to admire the glittery lights and be glad that I wasn't one of those people still out shopping for last-minute gifts. There's been very little in the way of that this year, for whatever reason. Not in the mood mostly, but there's a part of me that feels empty in buying gifts when so many need something that can't be tightly bound with a red or green bow.
I was home in time to hear the sirens far enough away in the distance to know that I hadn't missed Santa on his firetruck prowl through the neighborhood. Funny that I should look forward to that each year like I do, but there's a certain childish eagerness on my part for seeing him arrive with gifts for the kids who live behind us; I can't help but wave as he goes by and remember the sound of sleigh bells from my own childhood. Someone, most probably my brothers, made a point of my hearing them from the front yard bushes before bed on Christmas Eve. Brothers, I think, are one of those gifts that takes years to appreciate or find a use for.
So now I look forward to that particular quiet that comes only after midnight this day, after the preparations are done and there's no traffic on the road, the house dark and quiet but for the lights of the Christmas tree and rivaled only by the shimmer of winter's brightest stars.
- - - - - - - - - - -
is the pathway
is the temple
is the offering we bring
is the gift we are given."
-Joan Walsh Anglund
I wish for you peace and the simple joys that only this day can bring.
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