“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” – G.K. Chesterton
Living far away from family means most of my major holidays are spent running around to see loved ones, sleeping on different beds, living out of suitcases, and coming home exhausted (a 24-hour round-trip with a baby and a dog will do that) to a house that was left in a rush. When returning, there is much to catch up on — mail to sort, clothes to put away (is this shirt clean? Did I wear it? Should I wash it anyway because it was folded right next to these pants that are certainly not clean?), groceries to buy, leftover errands to run, and the gargantuan task of loving so many people in different places while settling back in to life here, where we are. With all that in mind, I told Aaron we had to reclaim some semblance of celebrating the holidays for ourselves and get in the groove of our own personal traditions. Since skipping extended family celebrations every year is not practical or desirable, this year we decided to try celebrating the real 12-days-of-Christmas, which starts on Christmas day and ends on January 6. This has extended our celebrating after a winter holiday season that included two trips back to Michigan. Back in Minnesota we’ve been drinking eggnog coffee, singing carols, and turning on the Christmas tree lights with gusto around here this week. It’s been good.
Every year I pick a phrase or stanza from a Christmas carol for our cards, and this year it was “the weary world rejoices,” from O Holy Night. There was much weariness in 2014 – moving, pregnancy, a new baby, an insanely demanding job for Aaron, many long road trips – but much rejoicing. I only think of the joy, really, but the hints of weariness are present in all things. And honestly, 2015 may have plenty of reason for weariness as well. Aaron is still gone almost all the time, we will probably need to replace some vehicles, we may have any number of family funerals, and we could open ourselves up to the possibility of weariness (or…. heartbreak…..) as Annie grows and we start thinking about more children. Who knows how God will work this year to give us new souls, new eyes, new backbones, new selves? We certainly don’t. And that’s mostly the point. So the words of St Paul to the Galatians are very timely:
Let us not grow weary in doing good, in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. – Galatians 6:9
The end of Christmas mostly means I have to take down our tree today, so I’m enjoying one last day of “real” Christmas carols and preparing for a new year — with many unknowns and responsibilities, but much joy, I’m sure. (And with a new computer that doesn’t take 10 minutes to start, hopefully it will include more writing, too. Thanks for hanging in there, friends!)