Christmas morning is here with all of its whooping and hollering and masses of colorful torn wrapping papers and ribbons scattered all over the house.
Wonderful smells are coming from the kitchen. I hurry to clean up the cookie crumbs left by Santa and get rid of the lavish Christmas breakfast mess.
There is spilled cocoa on the new sofa and the grandchildren have been sitting in marshmallow fluff. Their dog has broken into a box of ribbon candy and has thrown up on the rug.
Beebe is watching all this from his perch in the tree- that is until the tree crashes to the floor, smashing all the ornaments.
Nurse Judy remains oblivious to all the chaos, and is lounging in a recliner in her scarlet red negligee with matching fingernails and bright green satin high-heeled slippers with real (not marshmallow) fluff across the in-step.
Aunt Fran is trying to find something to load the paper mess into to make a path through the living room, but she has a bad knee and trips over Beebe, who is making a beeline from the falling tree.
Just then the cozy fire in the fireplace sets off the fire alarm.
Ah yes, this is a typical scene from those beloved Christmases past, but it is not a bit like a COVID-Christmas – this Christmas of 2020.
This morning all is calm and not very bright. There is no big pile of discarded wrapping paper, no family members (except for Beebe and Nurse Judy), and no big meal cooking in the kitchen.
Even Nurse Judy is a toned-down version of herself. She does wear a Christmas sweatshirt adorned with kittens sporting Christmas garb, but she has long since given up pushing the button that makes Christmas lights flash across her chest.
It just isn’t fun with no big audience to admire her.
Beebe did get his requested flopping fish, but like all kids with a new toy, he soon lost interest and curled up in front of the fireplace for a nap.
It just wasn’t fun with no big audience to admire him as he played.
I sat in my recliner watching a Hallmark movie that I’d only seen twice before, munching on a sad little Christmas cookie, wondering what we were going to have for dinner.
Yes, it was calm. Yes, it was a lot of time to think of all my blessings and the true meaning of Christmas.
My nerves were not frayed. I was not so exhausted, I wanted to just lie down and sleep.
I wasn’t thankful that at last the whole round of shopping, Christmas parties, and endless preparation were coming to an end.
So, what I was doing was sitting there feeling sorry for myself?
I wanted to be with my crazy family. I wanted the hubbub. I wanted the never-ending shopping sprees. I wanted the constant Christmas parties. I wanted to be dressing up for the holidays.
I missed seeing Nurse Judy cavorting around in her outlandish outfits. I missed Beebe demolishing the tree. I was too involved with myself.
Then the phone calls began coming in from family and friends. They were still there – the people I loved.
I WAS lucky – lucky to be alive – lucky to love and be loved – lucky to once more be able to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
Maybe it was God’s plan to have us slow down for a change – to think about what really matters in life. I stopped feeling bad and began to think of how I could cheer up my two roommates.
I was lucky to have the power to do that.
I WAS lucky.
There will be future Christmases when we once again stress ourselves out and feel glad when the hubbub is over.
I have to admit I am looking forward to the return of that hectic life.
I hope, however, there will be times when we look back at Christmas 2020 and remember its calmness and serenity.
This glorious holiday deserves that. I hope we will remember during all the frenzy to take some time to be calm as well as bright.
Happy New Year.