That day of the year when all the excitement, anticipation, and expectation of the recent weeks comes to fruition.
Families and friends will gather. Songs will be sung. Stories will be told. Gifts will be exchanged. Meals will be shared. Common family traditions, held each Christmas season to honor the memories of Christmases past and to hold on to the hope of those that are to come.
Friends and family have left to go back to their homes and their own celebrations. With the last good-bye the voices and laughter are gone, replaced by an unwelcomed quiet.
The beautiful bows and wrappings lie crumpled on the floor. The sink is piled with dishes. Only a couple glasses and some used napkins remain on the table as a reminder of the meal that was lovingly prepared and excitedly enjoyed. The Lady makes her way back to the kitchen, to the pots and pans waiting there for her. She will stand at her sink and wash each one; almost with the same love as when she filled them with the makings of the meal she prepared just hours earlier. And, as she does so, she reflects and remembers other years, other Christmas meals. There are some tears but mostly smiles. More likely than not, a chuckle or two as she recalls a funny word or the antics of a child.
With the last pot scrubbed and put away and the dish towels hung to dry, she will look around, hoping to spot something more to do; not yet ready for her hands or her mind to be idle. She is not ready for the total silence she knows is waiting for her – not yet. Just as with the shopping, decorating, gift-wrapping and all the planning, this is part of her own Christmas Tradition. It is a tradition handed down from her mother and her mother before her. More than any of the traditions, this is the one most difficult to let go of, because it is the one that bonds her to her cherished memories of Christmases past.
But, as with all days, this one too must finally be allowed to end. The Lady takes the stairs toward the world of sleep. With her head resting on the pillow, she realizes, with some surprise, just how tired she is. A few more moments of reflection lead her to offer up a prayer of praise and gratitude for her many blessings and a petition for her loved ones; especially those far away or for some other reason were missing from the celebration.
At last, though somewhat reluctantly, she gives in to the quiet and allows the sleep to come. As her mind drifts into it’s slumber, one final thought remains – “will there be another”?
Merry Christmas 2018