Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Annual Drive

Christmas Eve, and all that is left of the church service is the smell of smoking wick from several dozen candles, and murmurs from the little pockets of conversation as people leave the building. 

We pack up our things and load them in the vehicle, and drive home to unload them before piling into it again for the Annual Drive.


Someone brings a Christmas CD. We put it in the player and take off to view the Christmas lights in and around our city. In some areas it seems that folks try to outdo each other to create jaw-dropping displays. Others are more quiet, understated, and yet hopeful ... a few electric candles in the window, the muted twinkling of the Christmas tree from inside the house, showing through the window. 

As the music plays, we join in the singing, each one putting in his or her part until we feel the stirring of that elusive Christmas spirit in our hearts. 

After about an hour or so, we head back and we have something hot to drink - a little cocoa usually, topped with marshmallow bits. We watch our own Christmas lights reflect and twinkle amid the decorations. We turn on some soft music (or we tune in to the Fireplace Channel) and we sip our warm drinks and enjoy each other's company. Later, we might watch a Christmas movie on TV before turning in for the night.

We have done this tradition for over 20 years. Last year, we did it with one less among us ... so we asked a close friend to join us. We felt free to feel what we felt, no matter what that was. And we will again this year. 

This year, we don't have the luxury that the initial numbness (shock) of the loss brought. Its cold, harsh reality seems to dare us to plunge into the abyss. But a big part of Christmas is about never needing to be alone again. So, we reach out to others, and we share what we have. And though it feels ... different ... we can still be grateful, still know peace, still laugh and enjoy quality time together. Not just this night, but any night we want to. 

Because we're family. Because we love each other. Just because.

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