Ah, Christmas, when all is calm, all is bright . . .
Not so fast, my friends.
Have I told you the story about my husband, on Christmas Eve, falling and breaking his leg in two places? And spending the night in the ER, as a prelude to surgery?
Or the one about getting our car stuck in a snowdrift and having to walk the last quarter mile to the farm, freezing in hip-deep snow, with a Siamese cat stuffed inside a coat?
Or even the one about my sister and me, alone at Christmas, because my mother was with my father, who was in his final days in a far-away cancer hospital?
Or the story about the following year, when the young widow was trying to create a new kind of Christmas for her teenage daughters, and booked a trip to Florida? Only to spend 13 hours in the Montreal airport and have the flight cancelled in a blizzard and to return home, to a cold, empty house, devoid of Christmas preparation or cheer?
No. No, I have not told those stories.
I generally choose not to tell such stories. They don’t fit my present theme of looking forward to a special season. Those stories expose the difficulties and disappointments and heartbreaks that can come at this time of year.
I mention these stories now only because I want you to know that I recognize, even as I write warm, fuzzy tributes to perfect holidays, that not everyone has the good fortune to experience such a perfect holiday this year.
For too many people, the holiday season has a dark underbelly.
I know because my Christmases haven’t all been perfect either. Tough times are not considerate that way.
Some of you may be struggling to find happy and merry and joy and peace, and a silent night.
If you are lucky enough to be looking forward to a calm and joyous holiday, spare some thought and time for those who are not so fortunate. In your contentment, be considerate, be caring.
And if you are facing tribulations this year, know that you are not forgotten. We are not unmindful or uncaring of your troubles. We would share your burden, if we knew how, if you would let us.
You may not find your happy and merry and joy and peace, your silent night. Not this year. But I hope and believe, with all my heart, that, in another year, or two, these will be yours again.
All calm, all bright . . .