Last week, while I was in Target picking out my wrapping paper theme for this year, I was literally jumping up and down with excitement when I found some beautiful 1940's replicas.
So now, each day during baby's afternoon nap, I lock myself away with Elf or White Christmas or Little Women and wrap gifts to my hearts delight, admiring my old-fashion paper and reveling in the complicated puzzle I've created for my niece to figure out who's present is who on Christmas morning.
My world is blanketed in snow right now. It is stunning. Every time I walk out the door, I am a child kicking fluffy white love all over the place, feeling grateful for how dry my toes remain in my good winter boots.
There's something about the world being covered in snow that lets me feel the relief of knowing that everything is over. Everything is gone. Everything is getting ready to become new.
I've been contemplating the deeper meanings of Christmas. I love Jesus and the celebration of his birth, but it confuses me. Why December? Babies are born in the Spring, maybe summer or even fall, but winter? Winter is when we run out of resources, it's almost the opposite of new life.
Winter is death. The trees have spent the fall drawing their energy back into their bodies and letting go of every last one of their leaves. The bushes have turned brown and the flowers are long gone. So it doesn't seem like the moment to commemorate birth. It feels like the moment to commemorate death.
Death is important. Death is essential. Death is the end. And it's good for things to end.
Celebrating birth at Christmas feels like trying to trick time into skipping right over the quiet sleep of winter. Indeed, maybe a part of us really would like to just skip over this altogether. But really- what's wrong with paying attention to death and quiet for a moment? What if we celebrate the going away? We can release the warmth and growth with faith that it will return, in order to recognize that this time is as important as any other.
I used to think we create a celebration of lights in order to 'get away' from the dark. But throughout this past week, as I have opened my bedroom door to the stunning glow of our tree in the middle of the night, I notice how happy it makes me for the dark that surrounds it. The lights simply highlight the beauty and wonder of the dark night.
It's nice to have so much darkness. My eyes don't have to work so hard too see through the blaring, constant summer sun. My body sleeps more deeply in the cool stillness of winter nothingness. I feel a lovely permission to just stay home all day if I feel like it, get in my sweatpants early and not worry about getting my normal amount of work in. I hibernate.
So, this year, I am giving myself new permission to honor death. To honor the ending of all things before I get too concerned with knowing what the subsequent new beginning will look like.
The ending of the seasons. The end of the year. Letting whatever we are done with die away.
I have some ideas about what is ready to die away within me. I know I need the death that a vacation provides. I need to stop working for a while. That's why I will soon be commencing my winter break. I won't be blogging or worrying about any particular project for the holidays or even the month of January. I need a break. A nice, open-ended break. Ahhh……
What are you ready to release to the sweet mercy of winter?
I wish you the happiest holidays possible!!
So much love,