It's 2 AM. The guest have gone home, food put away, music turned off. The silence greats me as my senses stretch out to fill every corner of the house. The tree is lit; the wind softly plays its song out side, reminding me of the chill that lives there. And yet here, alone, the warmth of my home embraces me as my mind wonders far from the now.
Another year has come to past, and with it I feel weariness settle on my body and soul.
This year has been hard, so much strife, so many hurtful words spoken in anger and fear, so many friends raising their voices against each other. It's easy to let myself slide down that path and so hard to climb back up. And yet, on this night, as happens so often at this time of year, the angry voices loose their volume, as the whisperings of the past gain strength.
I feel the warmth of all my many Christmas Eve's growing in my heart as the cold of this winters night is pushed ever further from me.
Today slips away as I make my way towards my distant past. The years falling off me like a light summers rain from my brow. Vividly I recall the wild imagination of the boy I was, and the sounds and smells of yesterday's long gone. The memory of other silent nights when every little sound might just be Santa up on the roof.
Forward now the years flow until I feel the sting of the lonely cold of my Army Christmas days away from loved ones. These were nights shared with my brothers and sisters in arms, keeping me strong, reminding me why I served. Thinking about those back home, safe because of men and women who answered the call, like so many do today.
A blink and time sees my heart swell at the joy of a father's first Christmas as my girls were born. So much joy in my soul they brought then as they do now. How those Christmas's flew by as they grew up, here but briefly and then too soon gone, and seeing them now creating their own memories, living their own dreams, what more can a dad wish for.
My thoughts now draw me back to the present, with all the years that have past, and all I have seen, jockeying for attention in my mind. The blessing of having so many Christmas's is also its curse, as I see the faces of all those who have passed before me. I’m thankful that at this time of year they visit me, and touch my heart, letting me know they are somehow still with me. And yet in my soul sadness lingers, I miss them.
It is no wonder that my heart seeks a simpler time, back to the boy I was. And yet I don't kid myself, there were many hard times then too, and sometimes hateful words and angry voices. But we somehow found our way back to our friends and those we loved.
And so it is that my wish for all of you this year is just that that you may find your way back to each other. Don't let the magic of this season go by without reaching out. We all don't think alike, or look alike, or pray alike, but we all do love, have dreams, and hopes. We are all someone's brother, sister, mother, father, wife, husband, lover, and friend.
Disagree, by all means, for I know the price paid for all of us to be able to speak our minds freely, but please don't forget to love each other. For in that love lays the magic of this night.
My love to you all and merry Christmas to you and all whom you love, and best wishes for the New Year.