On Christmas night, can you ever feel your fingers catching frostbite as you carry in presents through the December air? And although it's supposed to be a joyful day, you think to yourself that the sadness in your chest is an odd thing to have. That maybe the normal hour you awoke this morning forever shattered your chance at having that Christmas excitement again -- the exhilaration that had always kept you awake all night and wouldn't let you sleep past 5am. Perhaps you didn't get everything you wanted, and maybe you still have wishes hanging at the foot of the fireplace, still waiting to be granted. The urge to burn them in the flames pulls at your fingertips, but hadn't you always sworn it wasn't the presents that made Christmas special? You waited all December for that feeling to turn up, but it's the day after Christmas and you still haven't felt it. Something was missing this December, and you'll be spending the next 365 days guessing at what it was that got caught in a heap of snow on its way to your heart; hoping it will return in twelve months. And does a shiver ever run down your spine at the thought that maybe whatever it was isn't let outside of childhood as easily as you were?
This Christmas just plain felt different. There has always been this distinct feeling that only came in the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But it didn't come this year. I was left to guess at what was different this year from all the others; wondering what it was that always gave me that Christmas feeling. I couldn't find an answer, and as Christmas day turned into Christmas night, I realized I'd have to wait another year to see if the feeling would return. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. I suppose this is what growing up feels like, but it's all just a little sad. Only time will tell if I'll ever feel Christmas again.
Although it didn't feel like it, Christmas did come this year. There are still lights around the tree beside the piano and on the houses in town, there are wads of red and green wrapping paper in the trash, and leftover Christmas dinner is in the fridge. The thing is: I don't think it necessarily takes a special feeling to still be happy around this time of year, and no matter what you're feeling, Jesus' birth is still something to celebrate. Things were just different this year, and it took me a little by surprise.
xo | Megan