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Simple Christmas

Christmas day growing up was really special. All of us would eagerly anticipate the day. I don’t know who had a harder time falling asleep…us kids or our parents! We weren’t allowed to come out of our rooms until 7 am. Yet my mom would not be able to wait often and would call us a 6! We opened presents to each other. Each of us was almost more eager to watch someone open the present we carefully picked out than the one we were given to open. It was a time of great generosity and laughter. Breakfast was special with croissants and sugary cereals. Almost always we received brand new clothes and after breakfast put our gifts away and wear our new clothes.

Then the grandparents came, the tree filled up with gifts again and the fun continued. Then we would feast all day, followed by a Turkey dinner and more feasting. In the evening we would sing and play the piano.

One of the hardest seasons for me is Christmas. No one does Christmas like my family. I have given up trying as it really is impossible. All my recreations have fallen short…and seem almost silly now that I think about it as the very thing that made christmas what it is….my family… Was not part of the recreations. Christmas is hard. It is my annual acute reminder of what I have lost. Many have reminded me over the years what I do have, what I have gained and have suggested that the family God has given me through so many friends. is the one that I should focus on. There is truth and wisdom in this. But… In reality, this is very hard to do. And while many look out for me at this time, I know why they look out for me. Amongst the gratitude, there is a twinge of pain.

Last year I began a tradition that I hope to keep up. I served soup and bread to anyone who I was hungry or alone. This year I made vegan carrot bisque with coconut milk and maple syrup with a gluten free seed bread. The little girl from upstairs hung out with me as I baked. When she found out I had made gluten free bread just for her she threw her arms around me. A few people came. It was simple. Very simple.

I imagine Christ’s birth was simple in a sense. A manger for a bed. Probably served simple food if anything. A swaddling cloth. A poor engaged couple.

There seemed to be something really fitting about a pot of simple soup and an openness to anyone who would come. No presents. No extravagance. No stress.

Just simplicity

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