Tuesday, January 12, 2016

On the Rest of the Days of Christmas

otherwise known as, Better Late Than Never, or alternately, The Christmas Poem that Made Mom Cry While Attempting to Homeschool the Children......

I'm aware that it's mid-January but what are you going to do?  If you wanted to read a professional blogger who writes seasonally appropriate posts then you've clearly come to the wrong place :)  

This year I baked what I thought was a reasonable amount of cookies over Advent and kept them frozen in the basement and it was pretty much the best holiday decision I've ever made.  Anytime someone stopped by the house I had cookie trays ready to go--and there's nothing I like more than artistically arranging food on a tray.  No really.  I still have about half of the cookies in the freezer though so clearly I overestimated normal levels of cookie consumption, that or we weren't eating near enough cookies.

Chris was able to be home for a lot of the Christmas season this year too.  He was also spending a good portion of that time camped out in the basement still working.  "Go home and be with your family" they said, "but you also still need to get all of this work done."   I suppose having a basement dwelling husband is better than having no husband home at all.

We pretty much followed my Twelve Days of Christmas plan--eating gingerbread houses, going to see Star Wars, sightseeing in DC, having a cookie playdate and going on lots of walks.  I lost steam during the last couple days due to a migraine and we never did get around to making Christmas for the animals.  I did buy the birdseed though so maybe we'll have Valentine's Day for the animals?  Ash Wednesday?  Nothing says Lent like mom letting the kids roll pinecones in peanut butter and birdseed.

By the day after Epiphany I was ready for some deep cleaning and I took down all the decorations and hauled the tree out the backyard by myself during naptime, setting a Reintjes house record for quickest holiday pack up of all time.  The pine needle vacuuming on the other hand is an ongoing process.  I just tell Chris that every bit of evergreen we find hiding in the house is a reminder to keep Christmas in our hearts all the year long.

Although this was one of my hardest Christmases, this year also, surprisingly, ended up being one of my favorites.  Maybe because I didn't have very high expectations, or maybe just because I didn't get swept up in all the hustle and bustle of the season since I wasn't trying to do all the things--or many of the things at all.  It was difficult, but somehow I found my peace in the sadness.  Hopefully next year will be just as good, but maybe with more to celebrate and less to mourn.


The Peace of Christmas-Time

Dearest, how hard it is to say---
   That all is for the best,
Since, sometimes, in a grievous way
   God's will is manifest.

See with what hearty, noisy glee
   Our little ones to-night
Dance round and round our Christmas tree
   With pretty toys bedight.

Dearest, one voice they may not hear,
   One face they may not see---
Ah, what of all this Christmas cheer
   Cometh to you and me?

Cometh before our misty eyes
   That other little face,
And we clasp, in tender, reverent wise,
   That love in the old embrace.

Dearest, the Christ-child walks to-night,
   Bringing his peace to men,
And he bringeth to you and to me the light
   Of the old, old years again.

Bringeth the peace of long ago,
   When a wee one clasped your knee
And lisped of the morrow---dear one, you know---
   And here come back is he!

Dearest, 'tis sometimes hard to say
   That all is for the best,
For, often, in a grievous way
   God's will is manifest.

But in the grace of this holy night
   That bringeth us back our child,
Let us see that the ways of God are right,
   And so be reconciled.

~Eugene Field

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