When Cori asked me to guest on her beautiful blog, I knew right away I would write about the weight of Christmas. See, around this time of year, I start to feel like I’m wearing Christmas. It’s a tightness through my shoulders, an irritating pop that resurfaces in the right joint of my jaw, the rebellion in the knuckles of my exhausted knitting hands. It’s the yarn remnants clinging to my hair and the felt pieces scattered all over the living room. It’s the late-night travel planning circles that form beneath my eyes and the ever-presence of leftover baking flour camped out somewhere on my under-showered skin. Tis the season, merry merry, please to give me a tropical vacation.
Are you with me?
The thing that gets me is this: I love Christmas. I love it with a fervor that compels me to start blasting Jingle Bells weeks before anyone sane deems it even remotely appropriate. I love it with pure, giddy, sprinkles-on-my-hot-chocolate abandon, and still, even I feel the weight of the doing and the choosing and the planning and the wrapping and the baking and the getting and the giving and the Christmas that I love? My Christmas? My Christmas is reduced to a collection of aches, pains, and messes.
This is unacceptable.
So tonight, we are ditching this madness and following stars.
I’ve always been curious about wise men. We know so little about them, these men from the east who followed a star and brought gifts to a tiny baby king. We don’t know for certain who they were, where they came from, or even when –- simply that they came. Perhaps they really were wise, or magicians, or ancient king-makers, perhaps they were three or a dozen or a hundred; whoever they were, I’m betting they had stuff. I’m betting they had families and deadlines and desires and a thousand important things requesting their attention, and still they packed up their frankincense and myrrh and camels and took off into dark nighttimes in pursuit of a star that would lead them to a God-child, to a promise, to a gift. I envy them their focus, their quiet night journeys, their determined pursuit of worship.
So tonight I am hastily bundling my daughter to my chest, sloppily wrapping her baby hands in wool, digging my keys out from under wrapping paper shreds and we are headed star-seeking.
We will walk, closely snuggled, and breathe in deeply and watch the skies. I will whisper stories of mysterious magi and choirs of angels into tiny ears and sing Silent Night as we count constellations, and we will walk until the aches and the pains and the messes have fallen away, until we are left with only the night and the winter and the wonder of Emmanuel, God with us, God breathing and moving and here. We will celebrate the gift of rare Portland December clear skies, we will ooo and ahh over lit trees and elaborate rooftops. We will count footsteps and hold each other tightly, and we will follow stars until we find Christmas.
Until we find Him.
And then with Him, we’ll journey home.
Karyn blogs at Girl of Cardigan.
Photos by the incomparable Shannon Hannon Photography (http://shannonhannon.com)