We did not simply have a wonderful Christmas time.
I wonder sometimes what Paul McCartney meant when he wrote that phrase over and over again in that Christmas song you hear every single time you run into a store frantic for some ingredient you forgot.
Is anything simple about Christmas time?
This year the coronavirus shoved itself up to our Christmas table and sent our family members scattering off into quarantine.
It hurt our hearts to see the one who had traveled the farthest and started her Christmas countdown the earliest have to isolate herself from us, and we worried and felt awful about the two other family members who developed symptoms of this maddening virus.
But, we also found ourselves profoundly grateful for the moments we did get to share with each other, and for that sturdy cabin in the woods that offered a beautiful place to convalesce.
We missed two big family gatherings, which meant we had to tell two different hosts that nine people would be unable to attend. We hated having to do that.
On Christmas Eve, we caravanned over to my Mom’s garage to deliver dinner to her, my sister Kathy and my brother in-law Keith from a very safe distance. Who’d have thought we’d have to do that again this year?
Then, we had a magical Magi moment when we realized that, with both cars in the repair shop (best Christmas ever!) our own garage was wide open.
So, we headed back home and spread out there to open a few gifts among ourselves. I felt like we were all shepherds as I watched love and care fill up that dirty old garage because isn’t that what baby Jesus is? The personification of love? And how lucky are we when we get to witness that love in action.
Then we dispersed for our Christmas dinner and I choked up a little as I said our Christmas blessing (shouted, really, so the two isolating in a bedroom upstairs and the two listening on speaker phone from their truck that was idling in the driveway could hear).
So, Molly took over for me.
“That first Christmas was the celebration of the creation of a family,” she said. “And this is a celebration of family too.” And, in that way, our hodegpodge meal became a celebration too.
We counted a lot of things over these past few confounding days — days between exposure, minutes until results, number of available test kits, distance between humans. Mostly, though, we counted our blessings.
Those were the easiest to tally.
We’re going to mulligan this Christmas and aim for a time we can all gather again around the same table. But, we’re not feeling all that terrible about this Christmas either because the people we love are feeling a little better each day and we have a wedding to look forward to in 2022.
The mood is right. The spirit’s up. We’re here tonight. And that’s enough.
We hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas!