Youngest sister dodges sleep; little head leaning light, little hand on my arm. Pretty as the ice-coated night. The rest discuss the favored Soprano during Messiah, (the first one in red, please) the old Tenor who stoops more than he did last year-- and we hope he has many more years in the Methodist choir. (He, our general favorite.)
We giggle re-dwelling the funniest antics on the rink, discuss the performance of the less experienced (stellar), decide whether or not to spend the balance of the evening making bagels in the classic country kitchen warm as summer. That is, if the power is actually on at home...
We stop where the wires are down across the road, turn around to find another way home. Shout "Thank YOU" out open car window to the utility men who'll be here wrangling icy copper until daybreak and beyond.
And once again, the holy joy that makes a day a holiday is wound around this beautiful gift, family.
We don't deserve it. Them. But here we are, loved, loving...
- - -
And right into the middle of this warm-heartedness this word sinks like a cold dagger--
And not that He was... (He was.)
But that He did.
That He walked away from the adoring, from everything and everyone familiar... That He left companionship. That comfy spot between beloved shoulders... The little hand on His arm, the little head, the perfect sleepy face, the warm chatter, the laughter at the end of an unblemished day, He left it.
He told them to scoot in to fill the gap, to be the pillow He'd been. Stood up and walked to the gate, swung it open, waited for the click, walked way into the universe to spend His first Christmas all alone.
So we could have Christmas at all.