Anne Eller concludes this week’s Advent reflections about her memories of Christmas when she was a child and her hopes for Christmas at this stage in her life.
As I reminisce I sigh and, desperate to re-capture some semblances of Christmas magic, pour a glass of wine, begin playing “A Treasury of Christmas” and sit back down to look at the newly untangled lights on my little tree, twinkling in the dusk. As my eyes go soft and my body eases into the sofa, I begin to move below the surface of my memories and dig into the depths to find Christmas again. I hazily hear the music in the background, and my heart becomes lighter. The outlines of the light bulbs on the tree are blurred and I begin to see not light bulbs, but pure light.
And then I begin to remember—shadows cannot be created without light, and that is exactly what this time of year is about, and what the lighted tree stands so proudly to show! People all over the world are waiting for the Light to arrive through the darkness, for hope to return in dismal times, for the birth of the sun and the return of longer days, for the renewal of life—for the Goddess to give birth to the Divine Child—for the Virgin to give birth to the Christ. It is in this moment that the Spirit becomes embodied into the human, and that Christ is born afresh in each of us.
I remember the words of “Oh Holy Night” that we sang as children so exuberantly from the back seat of the car—“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices; for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” And I remember the Lady Fingers that Mom made and Granny’s chocolate cake, and recall the sweetness of life. I remember the beautiful red bathrobe, given as a great gesture of love, and I hope that the presents I have chosen for loved ones will reflect my understanding of the way the Divine manifests within each of them. I pray that the packages of socks I left at my church for homeless people who drop by for lunch will provide some measure of warmth and hope in their dreary worlds. I remember the joy of family gatherings and hope that I, now one of the adults, have helped to create a magical atmosphere for my nieces and nephews. I hope that I can help to reflect the magic that my parents helped create for me, helping those around me to remember that birth succeeds death, and that Light makes a way in the darkness.
And I hope that next year as I am untangling the Christmas lights, I remember the magic.
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