So the holidays are upon us. People on the roads are stressed and crazy, the clerks in the stores have lost the will to care and I can just feel all my hopes and expectations taking hold just in time to be disappointed by the way things actually turn out. Merry Christmas.

It seems like every year right around Thanksgiving, despite all past experience and reason, I get all jacked-up about how fun and wonderful the holidays will be this year. Then as all the activities and tasks I’ve set for myself to “make Christmas meaningful” get checked off the list, I get more and more tired and more and more depressed. When Christmas finally comes around I’d be happy to just lay on the floor and drink eggnog. But I can’t because I’ve got to make a 1/20th scale gingerbread model of Monticello and cobble shoes for the homeless like I promised I would.

Andy came home from errands on Saturday lamenting the traffic and asking, “Why doesn’t everybody just stick to the routine?”. I think he was pointing out that if we weren’t all clogging the roads and running ourselves ragged around the holidays we’d probably be much happier. So I got to thinking, “What am I really searching for this time of year? Why all the fuss?”.

I’ve been reading up on Kierkegaard. Danish guy. Spent his whole life thinking about the spiritual, religious and pyschological issues that are so in the forefront of my mind these days. And as I was pondering the meaning of Christ coming into the world and what it should mean for me personally, especially this year, I came across this quote of his:

“Adversity draws men together and produces beauty and harmony in life’s relationships, just as the cold of winter produces ice-flowers on the window-panes, which vanish with the warmth.”

I’ve thought about this often. The beautiful and almost sacred bond you share with those you’ve endured adversity and crisis with. But the thing that struck me was the bit about warmth. I think this sums up what I’ve been struggling with when it comes to gratitude. As soon as the crisis passes, my gratitude seems to dry up. This made me thinking maybe it’s our nature for the ice flowers of humilty and gratitude to evanesce in the warmth of God’s provision.

And maybe that’s why the holidays can be so frustrating some times. Maybe the driving, the worrying, the exhaustion is all part of the winter that comes literally and figuratively on Christmas Eve. And maybe that’s all part of preparing our hearts to briefly enjoy the flowers of humility and gratitude that bloom when families gather and believers pray as one for the Light of God to come into the world. Maybe my drive for the “perfect” Christmas really just boils down to a hope for togetherness. Togetherness with family and friends, togetherness with God. That we can take in the cold of winter together, appreciate the bloom of gratitude it brings and then really feel it when light and warmth once again comes into the world.

I feel like I’m talking a little crazy so I’m gonna stop, but I’d love to hear your thoughts, as always.

Merry Christmas, Jane.

P.S. Ramona had her swallow study and it was determined that we need to be thickening her formula as she is aspirating very quickly on thin liquids. We’re hoping this might be helpful for her and allow her to progress in her oral feeding. It does, however, mean she has a long road ahead of her in terms of her feeding issues, G tube or not. I hope to post more on this in the next couple of days. Here are some shots of the boo-boo’s taken with my phone. The first shows cute Miss Mona Mae on her way to the pediatrician, the second shows how ridiculously long Simon’s hair is when combed out at bath time.

P.S.S. Another winter quote that really has me thinking:

“Too bad Lassie didn’t know how to ice skate, because then if she was in Holland on vacation in winter and someone said “Lassie, go skate for help,” she could do it.”

-Deep Thoughts, Jack Handy
(Welcome to Holland!)