Christmas came and went like the scent of pine on our drying tree. This morning holds a return to chores (clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere!) and a bit of work for all. The holiday spirit lingers in the list of thank you notes we have to write - so grateful for family and friends who thought of us - and in the beautiful memories of our candle-lit Christmas Eve service and the hugs exchanged by the children after meaningful gifts. When William and Daniel embraced in the hallway to celebrate William's passing-down of all childhood Legos to Daniel, and they promised to share the collection between their children, my throat swelled and eyes filled with tears of thankfulness for the rare bonding moment.
Candlelight singing in unison, gratitude and love, feeling as one with all those celebrating - not only Christmas but every light-filled and reverent holiday - that buoys my spirit and encourages hope to grow that our country can still overcome what divides us. If my boys can share a blissful morning then surely it's possibly for just about any two sides to pack in their differences and work on coming together.
My favorite Christmas hymn, "O Holy Night," expresses my deepest wish for unity in beautiful, poetic lyrics written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847. A wine merchant by trade, de Roquemaure was asked by his parish priest to write something for Christmas, and the spirit must have been with Placide, for his words have inspired for 180 years. Here are a few lines that always hit me hard:
"Long lay the world in in and error pining,
Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."
A weary world indeed. Our souls craving to know their worth in a social media, picture-perfect society. Dare we to hope that a new and glorious morning awaits us?
And then verse three, which never fails to make me cry. If we sing this in church I'm a soggy mess:
"Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease."
It should be our national anthem.
My New Year' resolution for 2019 is to live out the words of this hymn. To hear the stories of those I meet with respect for our differences and an honest desire to understand. To share what I believe with honest courage and to carry the unity of Christmas into the next few months despite headlines and headaches that are sure to come. His law is love and His gospel is peace.