Saturday, December 27, 2003

Holiday Leftovers

Good morning! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. We had lots of laughter and food and merriment. The kids all came home and brought friends and loved ones. Our house was full of people munching cookies, drinking coffee, and playing Trivial Pursuit.

But yesterday morning I woke up grumpy. A feeling of emptiness, a discomfort, an irritation seemed to cling to my shoulders and my mood. My husband worried about things...the ceiling in the garage, the bills, the office. It occurred to me that we each had different ways of handling the restless feeling of "now what?" that comes after something wonderful you'd anticipated is over.

At one point I looked at him from the midst of my funk and thought, "But even so, Christmas came." On this after-day when our emotions and tiredness surface, when we feel the natural letdown of separation that is the flip side of togetherness, I was comforted in remembering that the wise men are still coming...the kings are en route, the angels still sing and the baby sleeps quietly in the manger. Mary and Joseph are settling down from the sudden and less-than-perfect delivery of the infant; a place has been made; goodness is here, continuing, reaching, growing, maturing.

I heard once that whenever we're too Hungry, Anxious, Lonely, or Tired (which spell the word HALT), we run the risk of feeling overwhelmed by emotion and under-equipped to face the day. I'm sure Mary and Joseph rested the day after the ordeal of Jesus' birth. The focus of life became sparklingly clear. I need that reminder--and permission--to let my very human letdown surface even as my spirit whispers "Thank you" to a God who paints our hearts and houses in love and laugter, like bells announcing the arrival of Christmas Day.

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