This year Christmas didn't hold the same calming sway over the weeks surrounding it.
A hectic schedule switching every moment between three different jobs and several different commitments pushed the frantic rush right up to Christmas Eve. The day itself proved to be tricky with last-minute shuffles and several disruptions. And yet, as I look back, I realize that it has opened up the possibility of even greater joy than I knew.
Even as I worked to untangle my feelings of disappointment and discomfiture at the changes this year, I realized that it is that very discomfort that brings the joy and comfort out in sharp relief.
When the rhythms of thirty-odd years of Christmas are disrupted and we all end up in different cities for half the day, the depth of comfort at finally all being together again has more meaning. When my brothers live in a different state and come home very rarely, it is that much more precious to see them sitting in their plaid pajamas, hair ruffled, waiting for us when we get home. When I can no longer eat most of the foods that have always filled the Christmas season for me, I cherish those I can eat that much more and learn the joy of purposefully creating new traditions. When tension breaks out into disagreement and then washes back into harmony, I discover that the worry I have been harboring is pointless because I discover that I have a family that is first and foremost interested in sticking together and working through those disagreements. How could I ask for more?
As I sit in my apartment thinking back on Christmas -- on that warm room with family and friends, eating a copious amount of citrus to avoid the chocolate, and watching the layers of history hung on the tree grow thicker as new ornaments are added to the collection -- I can't help but grow excited about the coming years.
Christmas is concrete now. It has always been meaningful, but now it is purposeful and deliberate. That is an exciting new adventure and I can't wait to see what it reveals.