|All photos by Jenny.|
In part because of my work at the hospital (Andrew is working night shift tonight, and I'm on overnight tomorrow) and in part because of that unwelcome excitement I mentioned above I find myself more tuned in to the melancholy parts of the holiday this year than I have been in the recent past. I know that for many it is a time of release - the waiting of Advent is over, the waiting for presents is over, the pressure of the holiday hustle and bustle is over. The lucky ones among us can sleep in or be woken early by happy children, hug family members, use the extra time of a day off to focus on experiencing and expressing love for those close and far. I am most definitely a lucky one.
But I know that there are those who don't get to feel this way or have these experiences. I am starkly aware that life, in all it's unpredictability and constant fragility, does not stop for Christmas. People will die today, loves will break, hearts and bodies will be wounded - just like yesterday and just like tomorrow. In a way that is appropriate - after all in the faith tradition that claims Christmas as a holy day it is the arrival of an ordinary and extraordinary human life that we stop all of our regular routines to celebrate. That baby's life wasn't easy, and it didn't end in peace or without heartbreak. It helps me, this Christmas, to remember that sometimes it's how we suffer with those who cannot feel happy on special days, how we reach out to other human beings who don't feel lucky any day, that brings us the closest to the Christ Child and the miracle of his birth.