On a cold winter night once a year, the most wonderful visitor slips into the home at night. As families sleep, exhausted, the Christmas elf flies in undetected. It is the night after Christmas. He creeps around the house and performs the task that all the good moms and dads have been wishing for all holiday season. The Christmas elf picks up every scrap of wrapping paper. He puts away all the decorations and boxes up the ornaments. He takes the tree down and either magically vanished the pine needles, or even more remarkable, disassembles the artificial tree and returns it to its container in a most understandable order. The lights are taken down and rolled up nicely. The kitchen is tidied up and every crumb of Christmas cookie is taken away. The cookies aren’t payment, and parents realize that it was also another kindness. The family wakes up to a clean house the next day. Thank you Christmas cleaning elf!
Looking back at my blog posts they appear to be lame attempts to keep my head above the icy waters of December. I started out fretting about getting ambushed by the inevitable anxieties that happen every year. As the month wore on I made a conscious effort to stay above the seasonal angst. I tried to convince myself that it was working. After the late Christmas Eve church service I was determined to get the church clean even if it took hours. And it would be like me to refuse any help. But as midnight passed and I was in the first minutes of Christmas morning there were people picking up candles, folding tablecloths and then asking me what they could do. Soon people were moving tables and vacuuming. It was less than an hour later that I walked home on that crystal clear night.
And when I was urged to get up what seemed like very early in the morning, (it was much later than I usually get up every day) I managed to hold it together. The kids, even the older ones, bounced off the walls with Christmas morning excitement. There was yelling and laughing and I kept my tired head quiet and didn’t get annoyed. The buttresses of positive thoughts I had built all month held.
And so the joy that comes with Christmas morning touched me too. I don’t know who couldn’t have felt it watching Jamie eat his first toasted Pop-Tart®. Sitting in church that morning, there was no Sunday School so all the kids sat with Prajna and me. Our church choir closed the service with The Hallelujah Chorus. We spent the evening with my side of the family and rejoiced at news from Prajna’s. All around, it was a wonderful Christmas.
Now it’s the day after. I got up this morning with a bellyache from all the rich food yesterday. The house is still untidy. The help I got cleaning the church from real people is better than any imaginary elf anyway.