The promise of Christmas is ‘hope’

What do you find inside the silence, in the dark, nestled there, out of harm’s way, safe from the chaos of being alive?
You find the soft under-belly of who you are.
I ache for the silence this time of year; the still sense of peace that often gets lost in the holiday flurry–the flurry that the season has come to demand of us as we get swept up in finding the perfect gift, cooking the perfect meal, decorating the tree to become a work of art.
But beneath all the effort to capture Christmas and hold it for a moment in the palm of our hand, the silence is still there, waiting to be unearthed.
I can feel the silence in the soft glow of the Christmas tree lights in my memory; creeping down the stairs with my pillow and teddy bear to crawl beneath the tree, before the presents cluttered the space, while the rest of the household slept–the smell of spruce needles, the tickle of tinsel, and the gift of Christmas that said all will be well.
I remember the best pieces of Christmas Past while I try to restore them in my Christmas Present.
Certainly the arrival of the Simpsons-Sears and Eaton’s Christmas catalogues marked the season of hoping for children; the pages quickly dog-eared and worn from turning slowly and breathing deeply at the sight of shiny new skates and imagining gliding effortlessly over the ice, spinning and twirling and leaping.
Of the perfect toboggan or flying saucer careening down the hill, the snow blowing up in my face, the speed unfathomable; a twin holster or spy kit; or an Incredible Edibles Sooper Gooper complete with Gobble-degoop.
Despite the aching and hoping and wanting, none of that mattered to me when I crawled under the tree. I was looking for something much more–I was looking for the promise of Christmas that outshone gifts and treats and music and laughter.
I was looking for that sense of well-being that floated down; filtered through the spruce needles to land on my skin as I fell asleep.
I wanted to know what life was about in those moments and my part in it. Was it enough to belong in this group called my family? What about those who are alone? What about those who are hungry? What about those whose hearts have been broken by loss, by disappointment?
I closed my eyes and waited.
Christmas whispered to me, its voice soft and gentle, the lights twinkling, the frost on the window’s panes, the darkness so heavy I could touch it. My body warm beneath a blanket, my house secure, my family safe.
“Hope,” Christmas said to me. “Hope.”
wendistewart@live.ca

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