Now it’s time to say goodbye. We squeeze the stuffing out of them and send them on their way, grateful for good traveling weather and praying for safety.
I take my coffee into the living room and sit staring at the tree, only partially lit due to a failed string of lights since some time Christmas Eve. In the stillness, I reflect on our time together. What just happened here?
I’d entered into it determined not to entertain impossible expectations—or any expectations at all. A group photo would have been nice, since it was our first time together in two years. But I knew better than to bank on it. We managed to collect all thirteen of us under the same roof for only two hours, during which the little ones slept.
I’d asked God to help me adopt a servant’s heart, to gladly make each day as good, each meal as tasty, each bed as comfortable, each event as convenient for others as it lay within me to do. How did I do, God?
He doesn’t answer.
All I know for sure is I’m exhausted. I drift off for a bit, wondering how to spend this day. Should I kick it into high gear, restore the house to order? Or should I lie around watching Christmas movies in my pajamas, polishing off the egg nog, fudge, and Chex mix? I could take advantage of the quiet, buckle down at my computer and hammer out some new columns or maybe even the first chapter of a new novel. Or perhaps I should give my sluggish ol’ body a head-start on 2020 by going for a brisk walk and drinking a gallon of water.
For now, I doze.
When I open my eyes again, the sun—which we have not seen for days—streams through my living room window. It laser-beams its radiance across the top of our mantle, brilliantly illuminating the nativity scene. In his creativity, kindness, and gentleness, God reminds me once again of what all the fuss was about. Or what it was supposed to be about.
In the end, I spend the day in moderation. Some laundry and puttering, a bit of writing, a short nap, a little fresh air and healthy food along with the leftover treats. My heart is at peace, because I know that whatever post-holiday feelings I might be sorting, the joys and disappointments, the not nearly enoughs and the much-too-much, God is always sufficient. The goals or dreams or worries I might have for the new year pale in light of the one true gift that is mine every day: God’s love, sent to us through a baby in a manger.