It’s that time again…
Before we knew about tinsel on trees, Christmas was the best time of the year. We didn’t live with snow reindeer & turkey for dinner; we made match box people in real straw from a local cow shed. There was home made cake and Indian cuisine- ghee rich rices, curry and sweet dough rolled out in different ways. I guess our parents knew what was to be done with the season, Christmas cards arrived and were mailed at a local post office. We got new clothes, and new carols. ‘Luley thou lil tiny child…’ heard that one? At our chapel, 24th midnight service was a thing you didnot miss, it had it’s own air, it’s own smiles. We were excited about things we didn’t fully understand but it was a heart lift. That’s what I’m thinking now, heartlift. It was 16 degrees last night here in the southern tip of our peninsula brrrr way too cold for my skin. We pulled out every last blanket in the house, and as we curled in like a family of bears huddling in layers of reachable warmth, I wondered how it was out there in the street or with folk that do not have enough to cover their toes with extra wool. Woke up early this morning with that same gratitude for every bit of warm at home: rugs, warm shirts and scarf and pullovers, oh hot drink, steaming food, stove, microwave, hotwater, windows that can be shut, doors that stay locked, gratitude for people who care, hugs, laughter, the beginnings of healing, glimmers of well being, trust, faith, birds in trees outside;
it’s been hectic the past months with our youngest recovering from seizures and meds’ side effect trauma. Phew. Everyone’s thresholds are on display. Everyone’s demons come out to play. Right in the beginning of that storm, God released dopamide in my head with an art book contract, and 2 commissions; just when I was giving up and turning into a mama junkie, there was the start of phone calls. Those particular calls that mean a 4pm appointment someplace not so near my domestic area and now I need to comb hair and be seen in something other than my soul-comfort Jean and black Tee.
Yeah God did not stop the storm but the storm did not stop us. I’m sure I’m not the only one that can say amen to that.
So here this time around, am grateful to my teeth bones and unable to organize my head much besides saying, “Thankyou God for visiting my hearth via storms and chill night, thankyou for reminding me of how storms feel and how devastating it can be, the isolation, and pain of changeless illness. Thankyou for reminding me, as my own storm recedes, thankyou for reminding me of people that aren’t exactly rejoicing this season or any. I don’t want to forget this threshold of ache; don’t want to forget how loneliness feels, it’s cold, it’s bitter wound. I wonder how it felt wandering around looking for a place to deliver your baby, cold Bethlehem and a cursing Herod. I’ll never know, but I’m grateful for this taste of pain, it has enriched my heart and life in ways I can’t say if I write a million words. This was all my home could take this year, and I’m cartwheeling grateful, even for voices that cooled and grew more distant.” People are scared of illness, and things I’ll never know. I’m no one to judge. Humans are insecure aren’t we. We are made of bones that break, and we are made of tears that tear us apart if we do not know we are more than mortal- if we forget we are more than soft tissue and neurons- if we forget we are more than surface glitter and social opinion: if we forget we are not invisible: every move we make we leave footprints, heartprints. Every word we breathe say think, we are projecting our self on a large screen that appoints a universe of angel ministers good and bad. Every action bears witness for or against us, how terrible, but there is the core of God, thank God there’s Him. And this advent for me is another visit from the Manger. I love it’s chill draft and need, it’s gifts of touch, of gaze, of friendship .
This time around, I sent mail not to Santa but to One who does all things well. Voice mail that asks for hearts of gratitude enough to warm not just our homes but ones around us; that we will open our senses to people and family or friends, neighbours … strangers… that could do with some ONE thing that could make their day an event of joy, peace. Kindness is a fire, a mountain fire, a wild Bush fire, an unstoppable force that kills indifference. There’s things more than kindness for sure. There’s things people have done for me this season it blows my mind to even unravel it all. Strangers have walked in like angels, praying for us words few dare pray, say, do. There’s evil in this world but now it underwhelms me: there’s goodness and holiness here that freaks me insane with “Ah Lord God, You have made the earth and the heavens.Nothing is impossible with You!”
This season I’ve seen there’s more things to see, hear,touch,taste,inhale,eat,walk through,sit on, give up, arrive at,leave, hold,ask,think,dream, hope for,desire,pray:
This time around, I’m staring at all the trees ever decorated out there with flower and hungry squirrel and winter, and morning dew. I’m staring at the process of God drawing us to the Manger where He waits to deliver us from pregnant pauses. This December I feel an earth waiting to rejoice, heal, celebrate It’s Healer, not just out there but deep within it’s ovens and wardrobes and linen; it’s tables asking for grace, it’s streets needing light and the sound of dancing feet.
And this December I feel you and ask that you will know the joy you deserve and that it will spill out your door and fingers and skin like a light that will never stop shining, and that you will experience heaven all over again, like when you and I first experienced this time of the year- when we were little people with big heart and eyes for wonders at the base of our trees in yards filling with silken winged butterflies…
oh when we even admired wasps, fell in love with ant hills and whooped at pebbles in the beach, the light streaming through them or through cobwebs & dust fairies,
that time when the universe wowed us for the first time, peeping in through our window, at our face staring up at stars fading into daylight, with that sliver of moon a little thin lady next to the silence of the sun,
when we first suspected there was more to this than little stars and an earth spun between days and nights….
that first love. Return my heart to when we first prayed and believed that we were more than conquerors more than the things that wrestle, more than powers and principalities of the dark, more than whisper-lies that we are dead,
aye that first time, we looked up and were kissed by the face of God but we didn’t dare breathe for fear-
that moment of discovery of who we are: an incredible chromosome of heaven. Aye, that. I wish you and me precisely that. Forever.