So, it's 2014. The fireplace is on, the dogs have gone back to bed and it's 6 below zero outside, wind chill minus 20. Happy New Year!
It was a quiet New Year's Eve for the Desperate household. Spouse is down with the flu, and 13-year-old daughter was at a sleepover. When last seen the young ladies were heating up the curling irons. Gotta start the New Year in style, am I right?
Right now I'm at the kitchen table, surveying the wreckage of the holidays. The piles of Christmas china, waiting to be put away for next year. The punch bowl that still hasn't been washed-- man it's a pain fitting big things into a small sink. The shards of glass that are all that's left of the antique oil lamp from the guestroom that some kid broke at our post-Christmas dinner party. (Note to whatever kid broke my lamp: I will find you. Oh yes. I will.)
And just like every other year, I'm asking myself: Why do we do all this? Why?
And I remember a moment of amazing grace. It happened more than 20 years ago. Was I in church? No. I was standing on line in the men's socks department of Macy's on Queens Boulevard.
I was buying a Christmas present for my father. He always wants socks. So there I was, waiting on line with about twenty-five other people, who were also buying socks for their fathers. Merry Christmas, Dads of American, your tootsies will be warm again!
It must have been towards the end of the day. Macy's was a madhouse. A loop of Christmas music you've hear about seventy times playing on the sound system. Everyone in front of you wants to pay with a check.
And I asked myself, Why am I putting myself through all this? What could possibly make me do this kind of exhausting, mind-wearying, money-worrying thing every year?
So as I stood in line I took a little mental quiz. Would I go through all this for anything less than to celebrate the birth of God on earth?
And I realized the answer was NO. I wouldn't do this for the dearest friend having her first baby. I wouldn't do this for the dearest friend getting married. I wouldn't do this for anything less.
In our little household the celebration of Christmas has always been my job. I get the tree, I put up the lights, I bake the cookies, I hang the wreath...
And the truth is I'm happy to do it. I'm happy to welcome the newborn Savior with as much fanfare as I can muster.
Happy Birthday, God. And a special shout-out to Mary, the Mother of God. It's her feast day today. Happy Feast Day, Mary! I know all the holiday preparations were your job, too. We're a tough crew, we wives and mothers, are we not?