A perfectly managed Christmas correct in every detail is,
like basted inside seams and letters answered by return, a
a sure sign of someone who hasn’t enough to do.
--Katharine Whitehorn (1976)
I think women veer from two extremes during the holiday season—Auntie Mame and Blessed Hildegard of Bingen. One minute we’re heaving our bodies out of bed as an act of will and through that formidable “To List” by the power of Grace and the next we’re trying to fit into that red sequined dress to deck the halls and we’ll be merry about it if it kills us.
I’m not quite sure how it happened but I’ve misplaced at least a week. Somehow, I’ve run out of everything—time, creative energy, emotional bandwidth and budget. However, isn’t this exactly how Christmas is meant to be approached—exhausted, empty and the only thing that can save you is a miracle? A miracle so gigantic you can’t even conceive of it? That’s what I’m believing in. I hope you do, too. Lord have mercy, woman. This is not the day we can stop believing!
This is how I figure it. When the chips are down, the only choice you have is to believe your way out of Dodge and on the way to Bethlehem.
Ponder for a moment, my favorite holiday meditation. The first Christmas unfolded the way it did because, one ancient night, an exhausted and harried innkeeper’s wife stopped long enough to be moved by the power of Love. She improvised so that a frightened, unmarried teenage girl about to give birth to her first child could be comforted. And in so doing she midwifed a miracle that would change the world forever. Forgive me, if you must, but may I gently point out that on the first Christmas Eve, God the Father was in Heaven. God the Great Mother was on earth. In my heart, I see the older woman leaving the crowded, rowdy dining room and rushing up the stairs to her bedroom, opening up a trunk, and bringing forth her best, making sure that all she had would be all the mother and baby would need. She gathers in her arms linen and silk, the blankets from her own bed, her favorite shawl.
In my imagination, I can also see the young woman’s thankful smile, hear her sigh of relief, taste the salt in her tears. I smell not only the barn, but the aroma of the broth the older woman helped the younger sip to keep up her strength. As I hug my own daughter, I can feel the reassurance both women felt in each other’s presence. I know that the older woman’s sacred gift of generosity and the younger woman’s gratitude are not insignificant footnotes to what has been called the Greatest Story Ever Told. It’s how the Wonder unfolded.
Sometimes women need a gentle reminder when to take a break and a breather, so I thought I’d send a little prayer for both of us.
Blessed Mother Courage, Weaver of Dreams, Spirit of Christmas, hush the harried heart of your Beloved, and hear her sighs this eventide. Please gift this sweet woman with a respite from all her crises—both the big challenges that overwhelm her and the little things that gnaw at her strength. As the shadows lengthen, let her sorrows disappear and fears fade. Gentle Shepherdess who watches over all her lambs, no matter where they may have wandered, let her not be restless, wakeful, in danger or despair. Soothe her frazzled mind and brush from her brow the cares she has courageously carried for others for so long.
Ransom, retrieve and return to her the strayed or shattered and scattered parts of her Soul. Restore in this night’s reveries her grace, repose and good humor. Replenish her energy consumed by overwork and good intentions. Stretch her purse even as you expand her Spirit with the true meaning and wealth of this blessed season. Infuse her with good humor, endless patience and boundless enthusiasm for all the tasks she must complete to ensure that those in her care are well provided for this Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa 2016.
As she snuggles down in the Simple Abundance you have set apart for her, wrap her in comfort and tuck her in safety. Bless, protect and preserve all she loves, especially those darlings whose safety she worries about and keep watch over her until the darkness dissipates. And when the miracle of morning arrives, awaken her at first Light, with the deep knowledge that all will be well, even if it is different than she expected.
May this blessed woman know that all her efforts are not, nor ever have been in vain. To this we offer Heaven the deepest gratitude our hearts can express.
Please gift this wonderful woman, my dearest Reader, with your sacred bounty of Peace and Plenty.
Dearest love and blessings on our courage,