Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Best Half

Some of our Christmas lights went out, about half or a little less.  I suspect a fuse but have you ever tried to change out those two tiny fuses in the plug on a strand of Christmas lights... on a ladder... in a thirty mile an hour wind... in twenty-five degree weather?  Yeah, half of my lights are going to stay unlit.

You know what though?  Half of them are lit.  Actually, the half I like.  The half I see from the living room window.  The half that sparkles and shines on the Swarovski crystal Christmas ornaments Marci lovingly hangs in the picture window every season.  The half that goes up the peak of the garage and looks pretty cool, I think.  The best half really.

The best half.

Yes, that's what I need to focus on this season.  I think Christmas is a very difficult time of year.  I'll look back at some past Christmas posts here in a second because I think I've said that before.  It's the damn expectations, I think.

Perhaps there could be more presents under the tree.  But, there are some.  Some kids don't have any.  Some kids will get twice as many.  Somewhere in the middle is good for us.

I'd love to make a standing rib roast for Christmas dinner, with an excellent Pinot Noir and Potatoes Dauphinoise and white asparagus and creme brulee for dessert.  But, a nice roasted turkey with mashed potatoes, gravy and Stovetop and some corn will do just fine.  With chocolate ice cream for dessert.

Maybe going to every Christmas show in town would be a lot of fun.  The Nutcracker at the ballet and A Christmas Carol at The Playhouse in the Park, maybe carols with The Cincinnati Pops and the annual holiday show from the Children's Theater of Cincinnati.  But, perhaps singing carols in front of the fire on a cold winter's night after cruising around in an old Ford pickup looking at lights in the neighborhoods around us is just as good.

I'd guess flying to The Magic Kingdom and seeing Disney in all its holiday glory would be a lot of fun, or a weekend ski trip, or a Hawaiian vacation would be nice.  But, seeing all the grandparents on the same day, with added aunts and uncles and cousins seems pretty nice to.

Overflowing stockings stuffed with candies and gift cards and and extravagant gifts from Santa would be nice, but so is singing Happy Birthday to Jesus with a couple of boys of a Christmas morning and opening a few presents and going to church might be just as good.

I think so.

There is, in my opinion, a painful and inexplicable duality in the Christmas message.  Santa in all his consumer glory and Christ, newborn and the essence of Glory incarnate.  I won't go on about which half of that we choose for our family, folks might think I am judging, but, well "Christmas," look at the first half of the word.

The first year we were in the house we live in, the first Christmas we were together in our house, I bought Marci a crystal ornament as a gift.  I did it the next year and we decided that that was all we would get each other as gifts each year:

There are thirteen now.  They sparkle and shine in the sun and are especially pretty on a snowy day; they sway every so gently when the heater vent comes on and reflect the light from the outside lights, sparkling, shining.

Like stars.

Like hope.

Like memories.

Like love.

Like the reflection of yourself in the eyes of an infant.

Here's how half of my lights looked this morning:

It's a crappy picture, well, the bottom half is, but look at that turquoise sky, the trees in silhouette, the dawn breaking.

Sometimes you just need to look up to see the best half of things.

The best half.

It's a complex and difficult world to explain, especially to our children, especially in this instant and digital age.  A dear old friend of mine wrote this as a part of a FB post this morning, "A lot of time, this world seems meaningless, fleeting and trivial. Seems like you have to work really, really hard to keep things simple....instead of them just being simple."

...instead of them just being simple.  

Christmas is simple.  Let's strive to keep it that way, for the children, for the toddlers... for the infants.

From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ... "

"I can see!"

(We just got glasses)

 Anyone who wears glasses remembers this moment.  It was a few weeks back now, but...

I appreciate your attention today, I really do.


  1. Love the ornaments that you two get for each other. What a simple blessing, in the midst of a hurried, often out-of-focus season. May the true blessing of the meaning behind Christmas be all that you need to light your house, and your hearts. Deirdre Egell

  2. Those ornaments are beautiful, and I love the tradition of them. We didn't even do the lights outside this year. I couldn't get on the ladder (from the surgery) and Tony didn't have the umph to do it. So it didn't get done.

    But the tree did, so that's the part I'm focused on. :)

  3. I like your half. :) And I remember looking at trees for the first time with glasses...amazing!

  4. As someone who got to expierence the holidays single for the first time, always appreciate it! It sucks when it is taken away from you.