scenes from years past, Christmas in France...
My last two Christmases were cold, which was normal given we were living in France at the time and December means Winter. Both years we had the blessing to visit dear friends living in the Alsatian city of Strasbourg, the first two photos picture me there - the first with my babe thirty-four weeks grown in the womb and my second with my Reuben ten-months-old. I savour those memories well! And even though most Christmases I have known have been in the summertime, it feels strange this year not to feel cool and wrapped up.
Ten days ago I fell ill with a cold which has now become an infection in my sinuses. I feel like I've been beaten repeatedly to the face and neck, my muscles ache, my ribs hurt from dry coughing and my nose keeps running a colour I'd rather not see. It hurts to look down for too long and even lying on the bed makes me feel a bit dizzy. Nights are feverish. Reuben caught the cold as well, but thankfully has recovered. I have started a course of antibiotics and will most likely not feel so great on December 25th. I really have to stop thinking or planning or trying, just rest. I have had to let go of the blogs I wanted to write with merry projects, last minute gifts, baking, craft with the little ones, long letters to overseas friends, farm chores...
My lover may not find a tree to cut mistletoe down for me, and anyway, I do not feel up to standing under it for kissing. My front door is not adorned with fresh branches of pine and ruby crabapples from the nearby park... The french marker is not a walk away with my son strapped to my chest. No little packages of baked biscuits to tie up and deliver for my neighbours...
Instead I lie flat with the ceiling fan gently spinning. I listen to the howling wind in the cypress. Cough and splutter. I sip cranberry water. I see our door wreath simply woven with holly, twine, ribbons and synthetic poinsettia (since the heat would wilt them brown in an hour). I cuddle my babe in the big bed with me and read the nativity. I close my eyes. I remember well -
I have to rest. I have to rest in my greatest gift, I have to rest in Him...
Oh, holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, oh, hear the angel voices!
Oh, night divine, oh, night when Christ was born!
Oh, night divine, oh, night, oh, night divine!
Blessings to you and your kin for a Christmas filled with hope, grace and goodness.