Just in Time

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I’ll admit it: I am a Christmas freak.

When I was a kid, it was (of course) primarily about presents. I enjoyed carols and hymns at church, and was one of few angels in the choir loft not sleeping through our big entrance at pageant’s end. As a twenty-something, Christmas was a break in a hectic professional life, a time to enjoy family and assess faith.

As a mother of young children, the holiday was again, to my regret, about presents. I vividly remember the last time I exited Toys ‘R Us, confident I’d never return. I cherish this victory lap as one of the happiest moments in a really extraordinary life. No lie.

When the kids became teenagers, Christmas was calmer. We’d head to our ranch perched on the Rockies’ snowy top. Drink cider and hot cocoa, build fires, ski and snowshoe, watch elk, play Cranium on Christmas Eve, and just generally chill. We reconnected in near-holy solitude cherished by my hermit personhood. These are my fondest Christmas memories. Our holiday time there wove unbreakable threads that connect us wherever life takes us.

But this year, I’ve worried myself. I am not Scrooge, but have struggled to build momentum toward this most amazing time. It’s not depression or fiscal, but a disconnect. Maybe it’s vitriol left from the election. Or persistent bad news — from economic to war in the Middle East. Maybe I’m distracted by fabulous activity on my manuscripts, moving at an unprecedented pace with publishers you’d recognize.

Today, I watched the season’s first snowstorm. Did more holiday baking. Addressed Christmas cards. Played carols. Prepared packages to ship to family. Focused on the Christ child. Was thankful for God’s grace.

Bit by bit, I’m inching my way to Christmas cheer. The snow came just in time.
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