Adele can make the Skyfall soundtrack meaningful and potent, but in her version of “Make You Feel My Love” my toes quiver. I think of a new mother, brushing the head of her child with perspired lips. Extreme, bone-crushing pain melts into glorious, consoling kisses. The bride moves down the aisle to offer everything to her groom. Strangers send telegrams and free coffee to the victims of unspeakable violence. This song stuffs piano keys with haunting, untouchable love. The beloved is whisked away from danger, drawn into a thick embrace, and doted upon for eternity. A lovely picture for a lovely melody. In the still of December’s end, such richness is apparent in spending time with toddlers in the nursery of our church.
Love and doting also comes equipped with fatigue and annoyance. Travis and I have a naïve, quick look at the sweetness and playful nature of each child. We move trains with them, and feed them Cheerios and water, and listen to their tambourine songs for slightly over an hour. These brave parents allow an entire life or five to dominate their households for many years. They fuss and collapse in bed at night to sleep hours at a time, and they shape the miniature humans that will one day attempt to care for our ailing bodies. Parenting is a mighty job, and I’m thankful that we seek growth before attempting the full-time endeavor. I’m also thankful that we got to observe some wonderful friends prepare for their daughter in May during a surprise baby shower. Friends from college reside in Tennessee or elsewhere, so I haven’t been to a baby shower in all of my adult life. Gasp! They’re not as scary as the paper storks and cheek-pinching aunts of magazines, and even if they were that strangeness dissolves into celebration. This gathering was mostly catching up with the parents, meeting other friends and family, and snacking on delicious finger foods. It was as laid-back and enjoyable as conversation with the soon-to-be Momma and Papa.
Christmas brings to us this year the amazement of each other, and the loved ones we have. It wraps weighty solace and goodwill together in a brilliant package, and forces us to examine how we can help neighbors when our new coat of salvation keeps us warm.
The season delivers restful images. Pine trees collect under snow, and awe the toddlers who live near them. Faces pressed to the glass, they prop their eyes open to swallow the world whole. It will mean brutal chill and it will mean a fireplace, but they will keep their eyes tall.
1) Pursue the art of reading, writing, French, and home décor.
2) Perfect chocolate candy recipes.
3) Baby-sit for a friend.
4) Care not what fearful people yell about.
5) Play tennis, Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, and chess with the hubs.
6) Dog-sit again.
7) Write Mom and Dad a letter.
8) Visit Risa in Cali.
9) Make something from Goodwill unique using a sewing machine and crystal studs.
10) Pay off remaining credit cards.
11) Love Jesus with more and more of myself.
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!