That quiet moment after everyone else is gone to bed, and I have the house to myself – just a few still minutes of peace. I treasure that time.
Tonight, it’s cold outside but warm inside. My Christmas tree is glowing softly in my living room. It’s a perfect night for a cup of hot chocolate.
So I fix myself a cup, and I go sit on the couch in the living room, enjoying the tree and the quiet and the chocolate, and the blessed realization that, for the first Christmas in a whole bunch of years, I don’t feel bad. I can look at my tree and see how pretty it is. The brightness isn’t shadowed with grief and sadness.
I consider some of the ornaments. It’s an eclectic collection, to say the least. The pretty store-bought ones mix with the ones the kids made in elementary school. Tiny ones that date back to my single years when I had a little one-foot tree. Ones given as gifts, ones made with and by family, ones won at gift exchange parties. There are enough of them that they cover the tree, and the effect is really lovely, even if the individual pieces are a little shopworn.
The girls and I started a tradition years ago when they were little. I put the hooks in the ornaments, and they take turns putting them on the tree. At first, the ornaments would all end up on the bottom third of the tree; after they went to bed, I would spread them out more evenly. As they’ve grown older, they can reach the top branches of the tree themselves, sometimes higher than I can!
But back to this silent night. Tonight I can feel the joy that is always deep inside me, but sometimes doesn’t make it to the surface. As I sit with my cup of hot chocolate, warming my hands around the mug, I’m grateful for the quiet and the beauty.
And the heavenly peace.