Let me start by saying that in a “Baaa Humbug” moment, I decided not to put up the Christmas tree this year. No grandkids would be in Christmas attendance; therefore, what was the point? I had made up my mind, in no uncertain terms. Then I came home one day and the tree was sitting, bare of ornamentation, in the living room. Not wanting to make an issue of it, I dutifully hung all the ornaments. It was a very cold and snowy Saturday afternoon; weather not fit for man or beast, so I had no excuse to leave the house and avoid what seemed a grudging chore.
My Scrooge-i-ness began to wane the first time I lit the tree at night, when all the other lights were out. Sitting in the quiet house, in the dark, with the lit Christmas tree as the only illumination always seems to trip some switch inside my head, or perhaps inside my heart. There is something magical about it. And it worked its magic on me. My spirits lifted and I began to prepare for Christmas in earnest.
Tonight, after all our guests had gone, after all the clean-up was done, and after Jim had gone up to bed, I turned out all the lights and sat in the quiet of the living room with only the Christmas tree for light. I reflected on the past year, and all the things good, bad, happy, or sad that had occurred, and I felt thankful. Perhaps I had been subconsciously worried that our family traditions would lose their meaning to everyone in Mom’s absence. But our gathering was happy, hopeful, and life affirming. Surrounded by family, talking, eating, laughing, and having a good time in each other’s company, I began to wonder how many more times we will be privileged and able to repeat this tradition. Although I am happy to be done with the planning, and the baking, and the cooking, and the cleaning, I am also happy that I was able to do it.
I am fairly certain that every night, until the tree comes down, I will repeat my ritual of sitting in the dark and reflecting on its light and beauty. And I’m pretty sure there will be no “Baaa Humbug” moment next year.