Faith, Friends, Holiday, Home

The Grinch in Me

This is the week when I turn into the Grinch.  It’s the week of the final countdown toward Christmas Mornng.  Work feels like an imposition on my true job which has become preparing for Christmas.  There isn’t enough tape in the world to finish the wrapping. Last minute Christmas card envelopes stare up at me with accusation. Holiday songs are beginning to grate on my nerves…I just can’t listen one more time to Gene Autry’s “Rudolph”. ‘ Maybe  my head isn’t screwed on right, or maybe my shoes are too tight, but I think the most likely reason of all is that  during this week my heart has become too small’.

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.

And outside it seems dark all the time; we get up in the dark and we come home, after we go to the mall for the billionth time, in the dark.  How I yearn for those long lazy summer evenings, when the warmth of the sun falls against my shoulders.

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”.

 

Happy Journeys,

Beth

 

Pictures and Quotations courtesy of  Random House, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.

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