Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were abundant with joy. Candles were lit, carols were sung, feasts were prepared and enjoyed, and gifts were exchanged. On the 26th we walked in the woods together, counting the geese on the pond and marveling at the fast forming ice. On Tuesday my husband went back to work, and the children and I ran around the house playing with marshmallow shooters (this year's favorite toy :-), while our dog happily cleaned up after us. Today we found places in our home for all of our bright new things. We also gathered up the dirty laundry and went to the library. This is Christmas, too.
After the shepherds worshipped their newborn King, whose cradle was not crafted of gold, but was a homely animal trough, they returned to the fields, to their sheep, to their families and their work. Christ had come, but what had changed? Nothing. Everything. Christmas is the difference between standing in a room in the middle of the night, and standing in it in the morning. The room doesn't change at all, but your view of it has changed completely. And, so everything has changed, because now you see.
For Catholics, Christmas is more than a day. It is a season that begins on Christmas Eve, that holy night, and continues through January 5th. I am still in the midst of it, beholding the view, and pondering what it means for my life. These are the days that I take joy, and also take stock. I am writing down my thoughts as I pray each day, and considering what my response to Christ's coming should be in the year ahead. The spiritual life is rooted firmly in the practical. The real life I lead each day in my home and community is the pulse of my spirit. I have much to think about in the Christmas days still left, and much to do to plan for a new year of home learning, healthy living, and open-hearted loving.