It’s just harder to find these days. Much harder.
But still possible.
Do not let others’ lack of festivity and joy steal your own. Find a way to do something joyous to fill your inside. A hot cup of cocoa and a lighted candle with sprigs of rosemary and a small red ribbon (where I live you can find wild rosemary, dried and covered with cold – but use whatever is pretty around you). It’s something -just something -to defiantly hold onto, against the darkness that might surround you.
I will be honest. This is one of the hardest Christmases I’ve ever had. Certain family members have betrayed each other, and my nearly nonexistent family is disintegrating even more. Having lived a life around the world (sounds more glamorous than it is- and it doesn’t help when people find it a reason to be insecure of themselves, rather than just accepting that lives even out with blessings in different forms) my friends are around the country and around the world. I cannot get to them this year, and they cannot get to me. Even if they could, I’m just in a rented room- having committed to studying for my masters- and then even my time and resources for that were sabotaged this year.
But I do have that rented room, and I do have my furbabies, and while I can’t get to my piano right now to play her, she is close by, and I’m about to remedy the transportation problem come hell or high water. I may not have made a dent in my studies yet, but I have made the necessary sacrifices to prepare for them. I can’t control what is happening in my family, and though my heart literally feels pierced in two and breaking, I can pray for them with all the tears that pour forth. I can be thankful for the little Christmas tree that my sister sent to me that shines on my four walls at night, piercing the darkness instead of my heart. I can finish my Christmas presents I made for people, knowing I can’t get them there in time for Christmas, because of the high prices to do so and lack of transportation to less expensive options. But I can take a picture of them and text it to them on Christmas morning- and though it’s not the same, I hope they feel the love I put in every stitch for them.
I’ve thought a lot of the first Christmas, and I’m slowly comforted. I think how there was one brilliant star-just one-but a magnificent one. I think of how Mary must have awoken each morning, terrified, like I often do, away from everything she has known, with only the promise of an angel to comfort her. Yet… She could not share it with anyone. Only Joseph knew. How alone she must have felt at times. How exiled. Did she know that she was fulfilling prophecies when they were called to Bethlehem? Maybe not. Maybe that realization didn’t come until much later.
So it was cold. And uncomfortable. Lonely. Uncertain. Maybe terrifying. There was no room for them at the inn. I know that feeling -feeling unwanted. That what you have to offer with your whole heart, to the world, is seemingly rejected. Deemed not important.
Mary and Joseph had each other. They had the kindness of one stranger out of all those people around them – and the only kindness offered was humble indeed, though given wholeheartedly. And they had one star. Just one hopeful one, among the others, that hinted that something special was coming.
In hindsight, it wasn’t much. All three things could have been dismissed, groused at, ignoring the little bit of goodness there was- because let’s face it. If it weren’t for this or that, they could have been home with their families and Mary could have given birth with her mother and her cousin holding her hands, in her own home. But it wasn’t supposed to be like that.
Something, indeed, special was happening. But it was frightening, scary, uncomfortable, and they needed so much and were given just what was barely needed. But with what they were given, just that little bit, while holding onto the promise of an angel and the Grace of God, they changed the world.
Hold on, my friends. Hold on.
I will too.
I love you.