Merry Christmas from my heart to yours – may this season bring you the opportunity to simply sit and watch the beauty of the moment.
Here I sit in the home of my childhood. Some things are different; the bathroom has been redone, ceramic tile has replaced the original terrazzo, and a big screen TV sits upon the huge wooden console model that my daddy refuses to retire; however, even with changes so much has remained the same that each visit is a bit like stepping back in time.
Here I sit, a few days before the 25th, celebrating an early Christmas One with the Roberts’ tribe before spending Christmas Two with just us in our little home before having a late Christmas Three in Georgia with the Veatch clan. Such a busy time should find me exhausted, but being here, here in this house, fills me with a sense of calm.
Here I sit, watching my daddy. Each visit finds him moving a bit slower. While the rest of us sweat in shorts, he feels chilly and wears his flannel shirt to guard against the whirring of the AC. This is his 87th Christmas; his stories from Decembers long past seem crisper than those of last year. And yet his voice is clear as he talks with my boys about lacrosse or shares his disbelief that Nathan’s driver’s license cost $42. His permit, procured at the age of 16—1942—from the Manatee County Court House, cost nothing and didn’t even require a test. Nathan laughs at the thought.
Here I sit, watching my family work on a jigsaw puzzle, a Christmas tradition. This year’s is a Nativity scene. A card table is slap-dab in the middle of the den, blocking the TV that is currently airing a Hallmark holiday special. No one is really watching, but the slightly muted voices provide a comforting hum in the background. My sister is full of activity, tidying up the little things, busy as always. Her gift of quiet service makes family gatherings tick along. Papa is gathering up the newspapers to place them in the recycling bin. Mama is mixing her famous potato salad. This year’s early Christmas feast is take-out barbeque—it’s just too hot to cook—but only mama’s potato salad will do as a side.
Here I sit, watching my son as he watches a girl, a girl named Heather. I watch Sam touch the small of her back as he guides her to the table, I watch him pull out her chair as we sit to eat, and I watch him delight in her delight. I watch her meet our Papa for the first time and listen as Papa asks the questions of who and what and when and where and how. He wants to know her story. I am awash with emotions as I observe something wonderful unfold. I watch and my heart is full.
Here I sit, knowing time is a blur and realizing once again that this moment, this moment right here, this one, is the only one that exists. This moment is eternal. The blur of Christmases past—my childhood holidays in this very room, later seasons spent in strange-to-me places, remembrances of our sons’ early years, their young eyes wide-with-wonder at filled stockings and twinkling lights—all of those moments have led to this one, this very moment. Christmases past are precious memories, Christmases to come are illusions, but this one, this one is real.
Here I sit. I close my eyes and treasure it all, the sights, the sounds, the smells. I wonder how I could ever think this wasn’t sufficient – those self-absorbed times when I’m tempted to believe there is greener grass in a different pasture, that I need something more than I have. I do not. Grace is this moment and it is more, more than enough.
Here I sit, and there is no where else I’d rather be.