"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

24 December 2012

Blessed Christmas

Brokenness sometimes overwhelms me at Christmas, the fog rolling in tonight a stealthy reminder despite its soft beauty.  When I was a freshman in college, we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve to accommodate my brother’s stepson and his other grandparents.  On Christmas morning, my mother’s birthday, her father died at 3:00 a.m.  We’ve opened gifts on Christmas Eve ever since.

Two years ago was the first Christmas without my daddy.  One year ago was the first Christmas without his sister.  This is the first Christmas without my brother, the last of the immediate family.  And here I am in Tennessee, while my mother celebrates Christmas without family. 

Yet we celebrate, because the Babe came to bring hope, to bring light, to offer the star that ever shines above our Mordor, no matter how impenetrable the clouds of sin and sorrow may seem.  On this foggy Christmas Eve, I have our own unique Christmas tree to remind me.

The jade is an offshoot of the one my daddy grew at the University of Kansas; his was quite a large tree when it finally died long after his retirement.  But he had given me a shoot from it when I got married – “it’s the only thing I know you won’t kill,” he teased me, knowing I never remember to water plants.  We lost the original, I fear, to the abuse of some move or other, but this is its descendent.  We never got a “real” Christmas tree, because we always traveled to my parents’ home, where a tree and wreaths and lights and cookies waited, when the kids were growing up – but I love the little blue lights in the glossy green of the jade leaves, and the simple crèche at its foot. 

As this jade with its tiny lights comes from my father’s better-cared-for and massive plant, I am reminded that hope comes from my heavenly Father’s gift – and however much I and the rest of the world may try to darken and twist and destroy that gift, we cannot.  His light will always be shining, always be waiting, anticipating our upturned eyes to see.  And even the tiniest light will penetrate the darkness if we only look.

A blessed Christmas to all, especially to those who suffer loneliness, loss, sorrow this season.  May His light brighten even the darkest moments with His hope.


barn swallow said...

This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for reminding us all of the hope God gives us.

I am so sorry about the separation from your loved ones this Christmas, and so glad that God is so very close. May He fill your coming year with many precious and unexpected joys.

Beth Impson said...

Thanks, Elena. God is good! Love you, dear heart!

William Luse said...

I missed this when you put it up because, well, you know me. Anyway, very nice. The way you talk about your "daddy" is almost enough to make a grown man cry.

Beth Impson said...

Thanks, Bill. Don't tell me you were busy over Christmas and not looking at my weblog every day to see if i'd posted something? I mean, I keep it up so diligently and it's so brilliant . . . !

I have never called my father anything but "daddy" -- somehow the word "dad" just never entered my active vocabulary in relation to him. But i was a daddy's girl from day one, too. :)