It is a few days before Christmas and the house is still. All my chickens are safe and sound under one roof, quiet and asleep. And at this moment there is only me, making my nightly rounds through the house. Checking the locks one more time. Turning out lamps. Placing stray pillows back on the sofa.
I really should go to bed. I lean over to turn out the lights of the Christmas tree and I stop myself. What it is that made me stop, I’m not quite sure. Just something about the moment. That very one. And I sit down.
It’s dark. Not completely, really, but dark except for the comforting glow of the lights peeking from the branches of the tree. I tuck my feet up under me as I settle in the crook of the sofa and pull a quilt from the other end across my lap. It is old and colorful and even worn in places and I am reminded for a second that someone a long time ago made it with their own two patient hands. And I wonder, as they pieced the soft fabric together and sewed did they ever once think that a tired mother might use it one cold December night as she sat in her darkened den and gazed at the Christmas tree?
Probably not. But it is a nice thought anyway. I settle a little deeper into my corner and look up at the tree in its own blanket of lights.
Somehow it reminds me of another day, when we searched for just the right tree in the south Georgia woods, then set it up with the help of a few choice words and a prayer in our wood paneled den and wrapped it in lights and silver icicles. I would sit then, too, even as a child. Late at night after everyone else had gone to sleep. I would tiptoe from my room to the den, turn on the tree and just … stare … and bask in the silent magic of Christmas. No thoughts of Santa or gifts. Just a comforting quiet that filled me with peace. Even at a young age I treasured that time.
Like now. No longer young, far from being a child, I stare once again at the sparkle of the Christmas tree and feel that same, familiar quiet filling me with peace. A peace much needed in a world very grown up. I wonder … as I sat in our wood paneled den three decades ago, did I ever once think that I might do the very same thing as an adult one cold December night far from then?
Probably not. But it is a nice thought anyway.
My comfortable peace. It is the same one that washes over me all times of the year, but especially at Christmas. It is there in each light, each song, each special prayer. Each bough that smells of fresh pine, and the crinkle of faded construction paper ornaments. It refreshes my soul.
It is a few days before Christmas and the house is still. I pull myself from my cocoon and fold up the colorful, old quilt. I check the locks one more time. Then I stand and look at the tree, our sweet tree, and I breathe in the heady smell of pine. All my chickens are safe and sound under one roof, quiet and asleep.
At that very moment I knew that it was Christmas. That very one.
The comfortable peace of Christmas.
Email Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.