December, you’ve been a strange month for me.
I spend the first three weeks of you
Because I have a new job.
It is exciting,
But also draining and disorienting.
That beginning to learn
With new people
Leaves me feeling like
A shadow of myself.
I think that maybe
I do not enjoy learning.
Maybe I do not even know how to learn.
This is worrisome to me.
Maybe it is just that I do not like
To be uncomfortable,
Or perhaps it is certain methods of learning that
Wear me down.
The exhaustion belongs to December,
But the analyzing of it is January’s.
With all my emotional energy
Directed towards finding my footing at work,
The small ordinary tasks at home begin to feel monumental.
I make peanut butter balls,
But only get half of them dipped in chocolate,
And NEVER get them put into the freezer.
We just eat them all, undipped and unfrozen as they are.
Have you ever heard of such a thing???
Speaking of Christmas cookies,
I approach them differently this year.
(Not on purpose…
It just happens this way.)
I make one kind,
WE EAT THEM.
Next, I make another kind,
WE EAT THEM.
We do this four times.
I stop feeling weird about it somewhere around the third time.
I should have stopped feeling weird earlier though.
I know that now.
It is different,
But this year,
There is no reason why it isn’t okay to do things a different way.
Since we’re on the topic of doing things a different way…
Niggling in my mind is the knowledge that
Christmas will most likely not be
The way it normally is.
It already isn’t.
It feels almost impossible to make plans for celebrating with our families.
Normally there are sleepovers and meals together…
Lockdown or not,
It doesn’t feel right to do those normal things.
In the days before Christmas,
Plans for Zoom gatherings and outdoor walks are made.
I feel better once I know what we are going to be doing,
And I begin to look forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Lying in bed-
Too tired to sleep-
All I can think is,
“It’s not supposed to be this way
It’s not supposed to be this way.”
So many things about
The world and
It’s not supposed to be this way.
Eventually, the knowledge that
Jesus comes to us
No matter what way we are
Cradles me to sleep.
It is raining,
But it turns to snow and
The snow makes me feel happy.
Ricky and I run a few final errands,
And we are glad that we got out of our apartment for a little while.
It just feels right to be out and about on Christmas Eve.
Soon it is time to pick up the traditional pizza for supper.
I clean the snow off our car
While a thousand crows caw in the trees above me.
The pizza smells delicious as I drive the few minutes home.
It is right and good to be in a car with a pizza
On Christmas Eve.
We Zoom with Ricky’s family,
And it is wonderful to talk and laugh and do our traditional book gift exchange.
There is an underlying sadness to it at the same time.
It has been too long since we’ve all been together.
We walk through the lights in the park with my family.
And at the end of the day, we feel surprisingly happy and grateful.
We wake up and discover that some of Ricky’s cousins
Have left a delicious treat for us on our balcony.
It makes us feel happy to think about them standing in our parking lot,
Tossing the bag up onto our balcony.
I chop squash, parsnips, and sweet potatoes,
As one does on Christmas morning.
We bundle up and head to Floradale for
A walk with my family.
It is the perfect snowy Christmas morning,
And it feels so good to be with family in person
That I feel the urge to frolic.
We warm up with hot apple cider in the yard,
Before Ricky and I head home.
We have a box with Christmas dinner in our trunk,
And gifts in our backseat.
It is too exciting.
When we get home,
I open the box with our lunch in it,
Right on top,
Love is winking at me sweetly.
What a gift to be able to eat food made by my mom on Christmas Day.
Seeing how perfectly everything was prepared and packaged just about made me cry.)
We eat and open gifts over Zoom with my family.
We watch It’s a Wonderful Life.
It hits me that it has been a very good Christmas.
But very good.
I put away most of the Christmas décor.
It’s sooner than I normally do,
But it feels right.
I am surprised to realize that I am
Excited about the new year,
Excited about some things I want to do,
Excited about snow and winter,
Of all things.
Of all things.
It’s just about the last thing I expected to feel.
There is much to look forward to in this life,
and that is a miracle of its own sort.
Christ is born!
We can rejoice in that.
Christ has died,
Christ has risen,
And Christ is coming again.
This Christmas I learned that things can still be good, even if they are different than we are used to.
What do you want to remember from December 2020?