This third week of Advent is about a journey. A very pregnant young woman and her worried new husband travel to a place without friends or family. They have no place of comfort to rest.
Oh my, this week can feel like that.
How, I ask myself, do I get through this week without putting on a fake Santa suit, grabbing my dog and and stealing the stockings, presents, and trees from all of Whoville?
How do I remember what this season is all about amid the money, the rush, and the expectations? Where is my CindyLou Who?
Her name is Mary.
Her face is everywhere – in the mirror, down the street, and around the corner.
As I light the third Advent candle, I think of depth of Mary’s faith on her journey. No matter how hard it was, she knew and trusted in the glory of her life. She believed in the magic of her new family. She rested on the Grace around her. For a moment as I light the candle, I am reminded that my light that shines within, sometimes its buried deep in blackened emotions, but it’s always there.
The night before solstice I bake cookies. As I bake I think of my Mom. Yes, I miss her, especially at this time of year, but not while I bake. My memories are found. She sucked at baking but every year she tried, and every year we laughed more than we produced. I smile as I remember. I think of my crazy Grandma who was worse at cooking than my Mom. A crazy, mean, old bat but on this night I just remember that she loved me.
As the butter melts and bubbles, the fudge hardens, and the kitchen is filled with rich aroma, I think of all the women who have journeyed through darkness to bring light to the world. My long ago inner city students who have fought against the odds to become strong stable women and mothers. The presidential candidate who pounded against a glass ceiling that only cracked. The scarred slave who, like Moses, lead hundreds slaves to freedom. I think of my childhood friend whose child of her own has a one-in-a million genetic disorder, and how she manages to mother, wife and friend with grace and love. Then there is my dear friend and her wife whose lives are big and generous even though they fight against a cancer clock.
I bake, nibble, pray, sing, nibble more, pray, and still nibble. What felt like an annual chore at the beginning feels like play. I even catch myself singing along with Gene Autry! ” Christmas I think, doesn’t come from a store. Christmas, I realize is a little bit more.”
Then I get to pack and bundle the cookies for the neighbors. Wow, I get to give gifts of food. Simple, yummy tasting gifts in bright red and green bags. I will give out my humble cookies on the night of the solstice as a way of reminding myself that I am never alone and that through sharing we bring light into each other’s lives.
Out of the darkness, my heart doesn’t feel so tight. “What happened, they say, is that my Grinch’s heart grew three sizes this day”.
Pictures and Quotations courtesy of Random House, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.
Oh Bethy, your thoughts just made me have a good cry. I needed it. The memories of Christmases as a child with the love of your family always there- the sweetest of memories. In this season of darkness, and the tough year it has been, I needed to reflect on a life well lived and a one in a million child that inspires me daily. I love you so very, very much- even your Grinch side. Peace.