I have many fond memories of Christmas. The wonder years at 204 waiting for Santa’s arrival. Shaking the merrily wrapped boxes adorned with bright ribbons and bows. Guessing the contents. Hoping and praying Santa brought the number one thing on my list. Moody teenage walks through the evening snow pondering the true meaning of the season. Looking up to heaven for clues. Breathing in the cold air and welcoming the white flakes on my ruddy cheeks. Celebrating the magical First Christmas for each of my three children. Planning and preparing, making lists, shopping, decorating, wrapping, hiding gifts, baking, cooking, roasting, mulling, eating, singing, laughing, welcoming and praying. Joyous greetings. And wistful farewells. I love it all. And recall with bitter sweetness.
There’s this little snapshot in my mind of one particular Christmas that always makes me happy and takes me back. Not to 204. But to a snug cozy living room tucked away in my heart. One filled with warmth and a whole lot of love.
It was a couple of weeks before Christmas. A song came on the radio, a festive tune in three-quarter time. A waltz. Inspired by the music, E spontaneously scooped up M, who was two or three at the time and began to dance with her. I watched as they twirled around the living room, E crooning to his little daughter, who was decked out in her holiday finest, a deep purple velvet dress with a white peter pan collar. An angel. Heaven sent. Divine in every way. M giggled with sheer delight as they swayed around the coffee table and sashayed past the tree laden with festive baubles and twinkly lights. Her diaphanous white-blonde hair fell around her delicate face, her skin so blue-white you could almost see through it. E was badly in need of a shave but on this wintery afternoon I found his two-day-old stubble somehow less objectionable. Oddly endearing. Downright gorgeous.
Around and around they danced. It was glorious. Took my breath away. My heart and soul and every cell within filled with gratitude. I never felt more alive. Nor at peace. Humbled by the awesome grace these simplest of occasions bring. Clear out of the blue. Unexpected. Gifts from God.
Could this be what it’s all about?
As I sat on the sofa and witnessed this intimate father-daughter connection I remember wishing I could stop time and stretch the moment out forever. Every once and awhile life presents a situation that is so picture perfect that it puts everything into perspective.
There it was. The fullness of life dancing around the living room to a White Christmas. Just for me.