The stockings are stuffed. The presents are wrapped and under the tree. There’s enough food to feed a small army, even though it’s just the five of us. The house is clean. Now is the time for waiting.
I’m not even very sure what to write. I’ve not been in a “writing” frame of mind for a bit now; an oddity for me. But it being Christmas eve and sitting here alone in front of the Christmas tree (my crew is out and about, we will meet up at worship service tonight) I feel the need to write something.
But what? Do I write about the joy of Christmas? Do I write about how grateful I am (truly, I am very grateful)? Do I write about the Christmas story? Do I write about hope?
Can joy and grieving inhabit the same space? My joy is real. My grief is real.
I’m looking forward to tonight–to church at Seaford Baptist at 7:00 and then at Zion Methodist at 11:00. I’m looking forward to opening stockings and eating good treats with my crew in between worship services. Tomorrow will be waffles and cheesy hash browns for brunch, and opening a plethora of presents—and just generally spending time with my family.
But honestly, it’s been a challenging Christmas season. More challenging than the previous Christmases that my ex-husband has been in prison. For all of us. We’ve each struggled in different ways. Grades have been the lowest they have been in three years. Missing their father has been the highest this year than the past three years. I don’t know why. I can’t explain it.
And instead of becoming more socially acclimated, we–or I–have drawn deeper into this protective shell. Don’t think. Don’t feel. Don’t study. Don’t pray. Don’t be disappointed. Don’t believe. Don’t be around other people. Work. Work. Work. And parent.
Where is the hope that I know exists? Where is the hope that I so desperately have clung to before? During Christmases past? Is it in this baby, born of a virgin, God become flesh? What is truth? Where is truth?
Silent Night, Holy Night
It’s definitely a Silent night. Is it a Holy night? How do I prepare my soul in order for the holiness of the night to be real? To me? To my crew?
I don’t want to be heartbroken tonight, of all nights. But I am. My soul aches from searching for the hope. The hope that I know is there, yet seems just right outside of my grasp.
How is tonight any different than any other night? And should it be?
Hope. Hope for the future. Hope for tonight. I’m waiting. I’m waiting.
Sleep in heavenly peace.