It was a good day.  A little running, a little working, a little cleaning and prepping… a little eating and drinking and a LOT of chocolate.  Ugh.

Sometimes it’s tough not to be closer to my family during the holidays.  But what am I really missing?  A crowded Christmas Eve service at church and ham sandwiches?  My family is pretty broken, not unlike a lot of other families.  I’ve had tough Christmases since I was 16 years old.  Holidays are hard after the magic of childhood is gone.

Today I wistfully remembered Christmases with my former in-laws.  I did love them so.  But even then I do remember feeling lonely, even in the middle of a big crowd of people.  Sometimes my husband would be a little nicer to me after some drinks and the ambiance of family, but the ugly Truth was there in the room, regardless.  I was not happy.

What makes a Christmas a good Christmas?

Obviously it’s not family for me, even though I “go there” a lot.  I do love having my children here, but that’s not really it, either.  The whole “surrounded by loved ones” is so weird.  I’m surrounded by my kids constantly.  Shouldn’t every day be Christmas, then?  The world makes us think that will put the Merry in Christmas, but I don’t buy it.  We are made to pity the soldiers deployed across the globe who are away from their families, but what about our neighbors who spend the holiday alone?  No one seems to care about them, but according to the world, no one who is alone can possibly have a happy Christmas.  A room full of people does not automatically imply Love.  In fact, a lot of people don’t even like their families.

For me, it isn’t about Santa Claus, or a returnable gift from Macy’s, or even the story of Jesus.  It isn’t about parties (although I had several outstanding parties this year that certainly must be noted).  It isn’t Handel’s Messiah and the Hallelujah Chorus, but that gets me closer.

There is a little magic in the white lights and glitter for me.  Maybe it just helps my mind get quiet and visit the place where the real Christmas lives – deep inside of my own silly Self.  All of the searching and buying and baking and card-writing in the world can’t get me there.  I have to open my heart and my mind and relax into Love.  That’s where the good Christmas is.

The world tries to turn Love into an annual tradition that’s force-fed to us with sappy commercials and theatrical stories about Christmas shoes.  I just don’t think you can exist in Fear all year long and suddenly, the day after Thanksgiving, squeeze your heart open and decorate it with strands of lights that will stay lit until January.  It doesn’t work that way for me.  Living in Love has been a long process, and it’s a constant challenge.

But this year, it’s a good Christmas.  A very good Christmas.  I am happy.  I am grateful.

I am… in Love. 

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