It’s been a weird lead up to Christmas here in AGMAland.
After going away to Germany and France last year in December, I swore that I’d never go away right before Christmas. Things just were too hectic; too discombobulated.
No time to do Advent devotionals or meditate on the the true meaning of Christmas. Ohmmmmm…
The Christmas tree went up late, the baking was done late and there were no AGMA holiday cards sent.
So naturally we decided to go away again this year right before Christmas.
We got home from Australia on 12/1, but we might as well have gotten back last week.
Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve hung 4 wreaths, put 4 fake poinsettia plants around the house, and put my 1964 scary stuffed Santa out. The under the tree manger set-up is still in our attic. Our artificial tree has been up for a week or so, sans decorations. I finally got around to hanging some ornaments on it last night.
Three days before Christmas.
AGMA’s jumping on the minimalist bandwagon this year and have a minimally decorated home and tree. After 40+ years of Christmas decorating, we have tons of house decorations and a sh*tload of ornaments. That all takes time to unpack, unwrap, hang, then take down and wrap up again in a week to store away for next year.
Basically, I’m being lazy.
I also did all my baking yesterday. AGMA’s Christmas baking consists of three types of cookies so it’s really not as labor intensive as it sounds. It just takes time to roll each one of those little damn cookies in the nuts.
I was drinking spiked eggnog all night so it all worked out.
I don’t normally wait to do all this stuff only a few days before Christmas.
Old AGMA would have been going crazy waiting so late. Decorating the house and tree, and doing the baking were essential to have a successful Christmas. At least I thought so.
It really didn’t seem to have much to do with what it all means.
No wonder I felt let down deep inside. My family couldn’t see it, but it was there. Emptiness where there should be an abundant overflowing of fullness. Sadness when there should be joy beyond measure.
AGMA was kind of a AGMess.
But this year’s different. This year I get it. Again. I got it for a while as a child and teenager, and then when I was in my 40’s. But I lost it to time, life, circumstances…
Two very different things have helped me in my “rediscovery” of the babe in a creche.
#1 – Donald Trump. Weird right? It’s a very long story and I’m not even sure I can explain it. And I feel pretty sure you wouldn’t want me to try. AGMA has a tendency to blather.
But in the midst of the incredible hate and corruption and greed and danger that this unpresident elect and his evil hench people represents to humanity, I feel the movement of the incredible power of Love.
I see the face of a young middle eastern brown man with gnarled hands from woodworking with gentle, slightly sad eyes, and a heart that is both human and divine.
I hear this young man say, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who insult you and persecute you,” I also hear him say, “Blessed are the peacemakers, the meek, those who mourn, the merciful, the poor in spirit…” And finally, I hear him whisper to my heart, “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
#2 – Ken. Ken was a good friend of mine at my church. He was a big man in his 50’s who went through a dark valley of alcohol and drug addiction for 25 years and came out on the other side injured, but alive.
He always had a smile for everybody and always called me beautiful.
AGMA liked that.
I have never met anybody who lived a more anti-Trump lifestyle. He was a man living on a meager disability income, yet who would take somebody living in poverty to Walmart and buy his groceries. He was devoted to the care of his 80 something mother. He drove people who didn’t drive to their doctor appointments. He recorded magazines and circulars for the blind – he had a great voice. He served weekly at our church’s Saturday dinner for the homeless. He lived his life serving others in gratitude for his own salvation from his dark night of the soul. What little he had, he gave gladly from his heart.
Like I said, the anti-Trump.
Ken died suddenly last week. It was his heart.
And my heart is broken. I’m still in shock.
I have it from people who are in the know that his last words were to tell his mom he loved her. That was so Ken…
The day I found out Ken had passed, I made him a promise. I promised to love more. Not only love more, but love with wreckless abandon like he did, not holding anything back. To love without regard to merit or status or color or nationality or religion or politics.
To try to love as I am loved, as the whole world is loved, by the child in the manger.
The child who grew up to be the young middle eastern brown man who taught Ken to give everything in the name of Love.
And I’ve felt that Love coursing through me. It’s really indescribable. And amazing.
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!”
With thanks to Dr. Suess…
Grinchy AGMA says may Love fill your home this holiday season!