We were 21 adults gathered around the dining room table(s) this year for Christmas. At one moment, while standing on the kitchen side of the island, I looked out at the guests gathered in our home and my heart whispered with a contented sigh, “Yes. This is Christmas”.
Gathered around the table, we shared a meal, toasts, tales of Christmases past, of Christmases hoped for, remembered, cherished. We laughed at stories, new and old. It didn’t matter if we’d heard them before for it wasn’t the story that made our hearts warm with remembering, it was the storyteller.
And as in Christmases past, we went around the table and each person answered the question that was written in their name cards. “What is your favourite Christmas memory?” “What are you most grateful for in 2019?” “If you could create a charitable organization, what would it be?” “What historical figure would you want to include at the table?” …
We gathered around the table on Christmas Day to share a feast and to feast on that special brew of friendship, family, community and the ties that bind us.
And throughout the festivities, our home was full of voices laughing, chatting, calling out each other in the familiar way that only those who have known one another a long, long time can do, and get away with. Because, no matter the calling out, it is the threads of familiarity and love that weave our hearts together in a magical tapestry of lives enjoined across time and space, moving always closer to the heart of what matters most – belonging, community, family, love.
And now, we are in Vancouver to share another Christmas with our eldest daughter, son-in-love and grandson. It is a special celebration.
As we followed the highway west, driving through plains and rolling hills into foothills and the Rockies, through towns and mountainsides festooned with snow-covered trees, I said a prayer of gratitude for my life today and those who fill it with such joy and beauty and love.
After a few days here, we will spend New Year’s Eve on Gabriola Island with my middle sister and her husband and then, we’ll take the long and winding road across Vancouver Island to my favourite place on earth, Tofino where my beloved and I will spend a few quiet days listening to the waves crash against the shore, wander the beaches and sit by the fire.
Yes. This is Christmas.
This is the table where we belong. Where family and friends gather. This is a joyful celebration of life, of friendship, family, love and new birth to come.
Yes. This is my blessed life.
I am so grateful.