Merry Christmas to Me.

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It’s Christmas.

It’s going to be a quiet one. My family celebrated Christmas yesterday. After church, we came, built a big brunch with Brioche french toast, Edwards country ham from Virginia, a spinach quiche, sausage, all sorts of good things.  We did the present opening thing (my father used to say about our tree at Christmas that it looked like “the tree exploded”. That’s what it was like here.) and spent the afternoon talking until my kids had to go to work at the Inn. The cat was comatose by afternoon’s end – too many bows, too much ribbon to play with, and maybe the catnip bubble did her in.

It is snowing like crazy outside. They are predicting 4-9 inches here in my little corner of Vermont. The way it’s been snowing the past couple of hours, I’m betting on the nine. And that’s on top of a few inches and ice from earlier this week.

Yep, this one’s a real New England, picture postcard Christmas.

Even Vermont is stopping for this one. I haven’t seen a snowplow yet on the road in front of my house.  When I stepped out on the porch this morning to take the picture at the top of this post (It’s a retaining wall on the quarry, directly across from the porch), there was no sound except snow on snow.).

Some people get bent out of shape when a big snow forces us to stop. And it does blow up plans. As I write this, for instance, the next door neighbors are digging out their truck. They have a family gathering to get to and get there they will. But it won’t be an easy journey. They will remember this Christmas, I am sure. Whether as a grand adventure that makes the family gathering more precious, or whether as a royal pain in the nether places, I have no idea, but they will remember.  I’ve been there. I get the frustration.

But I have also come to a different place. At this point in my life, I tend to breathe a big sigh of relief when mother nature tosses more than a few inches of the white stuff at me. I have to stop.

And stopping is good. I don’t know about other religions (Maybe some of you from other faiths who read this can fill me in on this.), but in Christianity, our major holidays seem to be preceded by a long period of secular madness. Gifts. Gatherings. Decorations. It’s all good and wonderful and….. too much.

You really have to fight to let the realness, the meaning, the heart-ness of the holiday soak in. You have to work at it. Make the time. Stop in a world that doesn’t include stopping in their list of Christmas (or another holiday) virtues. Otherwise, the essence is lost. The meaning is lost.

I think this is true of most things that are important. WIth kids. With spouses. With relationships. With our faith. With our creative spark and spiritual being. All these important things, vital things, things that matter, somehow are so easily brushed aside in the hustle and bustle of the world around us. Why do we let that happen?

After all the fun of yesterday’s celebration and meal and unwrapping frenzy and the kids were on their way to work, the woman I love and I were hugging. “This is what I love most.” she said. And it is. The quiet times together. The times when the things that are important are allowed to seep into our bones and our spirits and refresh us.

Which is why I love snowstorms. No choices here. No guilt of things not done or activity. No hustle and bustle. All stamped and approved by God himself.

Who am I to argue?

So let it snow. It’s a gift. A big, inches deep, fluffy gift. I have books. I have heat. I have food. There’s a cat that fits nicely on my lap. I might paint some this afternoon.

Merry Christmas to me. (and where ever you are, Merry Christmas to you.).

Tom

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