Friday, December 23, 2011

That Hush

Below is my newest Bargain Hunter blog.  In thinking about what to blog about this week, I thought about how much I enjoy the time between celebrations.  When our Christmas Eve family fest is over and it's not yet Christmas morning.  Read and enjoy...

That Hush

How do you describe the hush that descends upon the world Christmas Eve?

Shoppers still scurry out of stores clutching last minute packages, harried brows knitted in anxious urgency.  Candies and cookies may still be sitting on waxed paper, waiting to be scooped onto a platter and cozied up to the other pecan tassies and Mexican wedding cakes.  Preparations have been in full swing for weeks for the culmination of this night.

Have you ever gone outside on this night, though, and stared up at the sky in wonder?  A “midnight clear” isn’t even enough to describe it.  The world hovers in expectation of something, and some still don’t know what it is they are waiting for.  

I remember a Christmas Eve we came home to gather presents and clothes to sleep over at my mom and dad’s house.  It was quite awhile ago when the kids were small.  George and I pulled in and got out of the car, but were stopped still in our tracks.  The moon was perfectly bright and the frosty air hung light and pure.  It was very cold, but the stark beauty and stillness – perfect stillness – were astounding to experience.  I simply stood and embraced the cold and hush of night.  

Even today, with the hustle and bustle that Christmas has become, and always will be, we still are waiting.  A pause is necessary, to feel and reflect on what Christmas is.  For me, it’s that moment between our extended family celebration on Christmas Eve, and the time we come home and midnight hovers near.  It’s a precarious balance, a hovering of coming to the top of a very high precipice.

We take this time to don our Christmas pajamas, while the kids throw all their blankets on the floor in front of the tree.  We make a last cup of coffee and sit in the living room with only the tree’s glow as a reflection.  No matter how old they are, they still must sleep by the tree.  We have no hearth with a fire, or even a chimney to hang our stockings, but as night falls, their bodies shudder and relax into heavy slumber - tucked together in sibling closeness to await yet another Christmas day.  

As we sit in our living room waiting for Christmas to arrive, usually around 1 a.m. George calls his family in Mexico who are ushering Christmas in as well.  They are an hour behind us, so we celebrate with them as we talk quietly into the night.  With a kiss and a salute, Christmas greetings are sent and received. 

I know Christmas day will arrive with all its splendor and gift-giving.  We will read the Christmas story and revel in what we know it really means.  But for me, that time when Christmas is close to descending upon the world, and that hush that falls quickly and breathtakingly over all – that’s when I feel Christmas.  I feel it, in the silent lucidity that is a Christmas Eve night.  And I thank the One who brought this perfect reassuring hush.