My favorite Christmas song is Good King Wenceslas — not because I believe the king’s footsteps were warmed by saintly goodness, but by the simple and achievable act of self-sacrifice and willingness to lead.
My second favorite is God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. — not because it so eloquently tells the tale of Christmas (which it does), but because comfort and joy are the two most marvelous things we can wish for one another.
As most of you know, Dev’s father passed away in the late spring of 2011. That first Christmas after was… difficult, but not so difficult as I’d feared. But it wasn’t fun or enjoyable, either. In retrospect, we were both still numb, going through the motions, and just hoping to put that first holiday behind us.
2012 was harder, actually. The determination to get through the holidays was replaced with the hope all would feel better, and really, it didn’t work out that way. His father’s absence was more acutely felt.
Then 2013 came along — the Christmas after my dearest friend and Dev’s godmother had died, and the first Christmas we wouldn’t share with our extended family who had all moved to Denver. That wasn’t fun. We did our best, and managed some happiness, but for the most part treated Christmas as Just Another Day.
But this year… We’re settled. Contented. We talked about his father, but it was with… I don’t know what to call it. It wasn’t painful grief or regret or longing. It was, I suppose, acceptance. And love. Sharing memories was no longer about sharing pain, but about the happiness of past caring and certainty. We both seem to understand the past will never stop hurting when remembered, but the hurt is to be treasured because it was born from love.
We opened presents. We laughed and we were thankful. We played with our new throwing knives, and spent time with each other just being quietly happy the other person was near.
And we took care of preparations for my parents and nephews. Parents arrive tomorrow; nephews arrive Monday. If we’re fortunate, we’ll have my sis and her partner on Tuesday. Eight people in my little house is a squeeze, but one I’ll gladly make.
So I wish you all the best of the holiday season — comfort, joy, contentment, understanding. In today’s world, I wonder if comfort is actually the most precious gift of all.