Well, it seems that I took an unplanned December break from blogging. I hope you are feeling filled with hope and light after the solstice turn and that your Christmas was full of joy and merriment, if you celebrate.
Things were a mixed bag here, if we’re being objective. The last gift box is still sitting here, and will finally get in the mail on Monday (sorry, dad). The baking plan got truncated halfway through when we realized how many treats we had to eat already. Our cards were finally mailed on December 22. I was up too late too many nights.
But after all that, I assure you it was a near-perfect holiday. There were days filled with a steady trickle of treats that supplanted any need for meals. Days when I never got fully dressed. Days when I did venture out to gather with new friends and was richly rewarded with good conversation and new connections. Days with nothing more pressing (or productive) than putting together a puzzle on the dining room table for hours on end while catching up on podcasts, or listening to The Little Drummer Boy album from my childhood on repeat.
In other words, exactly what I needed after a December that was so full. Full of goodness, but so very full. It was a lot to fit into a few short weeks and I know better than to drive myself crazy with expectations and preparations. But the list had been honed to only those things that I couldn’t bear to let go. And it was still a very long list.
I was reflecting over the last couple of quiet days, when it all felt just about perfect, why all those things felt so necessary. And then I read Stephanie’s Christmas Eve post here, and realized that she had an awfully good translation. She’s talking about knitting specifically, but the sentiment applies pretty precisely to ALL the making that we do:
Knitting is, I have often said, a container for love. We work hard to make something for someone, pouring our time and energy and love into a tangible thing. When we hand knitting to someone, we’re hoping they’ll hear what we’re really saying, which is “I love you. I think you’re wonderful. I value your happiness, so much so that I’ve spent this time on you. My love is in this.”
It feels good. Even if the other person doesn’t understand that the hat you just gave them is love made firm and real (sometimes they think it’s just a hat) we do, and it’s an amazing trick to be able to do it.
Yup, that’s it. Time translated into tangible love. Gratitude for dear ones. When your life is rich with such things, of course the season is full.
We made old-fashioned fruitcake this year. A new tradition that was born rather on accident last year, when we felt brave and curious and decided to try it just once. A half-recipe, even. And then watched each others eyes grow bigger and bigger as we sampled it, and immediately started scheming for this year.
One of my favorite moments of the week was delivering a little loaf to our neighbor who generously shares her office space with our weekly meditation group. Over my lunch break on Tuesday, I bundled up against the cold, walked the half-mile out our driveway, and knocked on their front door bearing a quirky homemade card and the heavy loaf. She graciously received the unexpected visitor and my simple gesture of thanks, we had a brief friendly visit, and I walked home smiling, thinking YES, this, exactly.
It was just one of many little moments of spreading love around and catching its incoming forms. Utterly ordinary and yet perfectly how I want to spend these dark days that compel us to pause, to reflect and remember, to be grateful, and to turn toward the light with hope.