When I woke this morning, I opened my eyes and gasped at the sunrise. My bedroom is on the second story and out my window I could see long stretches of golden pinks and oranges beyond the tree tops and over the snow-topped mountain range in the distance. I smiled to myself and quietly watched the changing colors for a while before Cheyenne stirred.
With a hot cup of coffee in hand, and Cheyenne wearing her jingle bell collar, she and I set out for our Christmas morning walk. The snow crunched beneath my boots and the air was cold on my cheeks. All around us only the sound of her bells and my footsteps. As we walked, I remembered my mother and realized this is my first Christmas without her. My heart turned heavy with both love and sadness. The sudden weight of it was almost unbearable. Out there in the quiet and winter splendor, I began to pray and in prayer I poured out my love and my sadness, my joy and my gratitude. Before I knew it, I was praying out loud, my voice mixing with the trees, the sky. Snow began to fall every so lightly and in that moment I understood that I was heard and I understood that this moment was one of beauty given to me and the heaviness in my heart began to feel less of a burden and more of something solid and of immeasurable value. I thought of the children sleeping in the cabin, how happy our Christmas Eve was, how over-joyed and filled with love I was sitting at the head of the table saying grace over our Christmas Eve dinner. And I thought of how grateful I am to have this Christmas day.
I thought of how time passes and how precious each moment.
When we returned to the cabin, all still quiet above the heavy slumber of the kids, I poured another cup of coffee, grabbed the phone and sat outside and dialed the ten familiar numbers to my dearest friend's home. There are so many Christmases past between us. I recall the years of calling each other Christmas morning and reporting what we got. Christmas was different for us then; we were young and enjoyed most of all being on the receiving end of Christmas gifts. Years later, it's about what we give. We talk and remember and give each other our time on this morning. For as far back as I can recall, this phone call has been in my Christmas morning and I relish her voice and the rhythm of our conversation on this day.
Then I dialed my dear friend in Houston and she and I talked about our mornings and our days and there was that wonderful combination of love and excitement in our voices. As I described to her my morning and our Christmas Eve and the children's laughter, she said, I just know that Ed is up there smiling down on all of you right now, probably wearing his red Orvis Christmas pants. Yes, I smiled, I'm sure that he is. And I was sure and I am sure and I can see him now in those thick red corduroy pants with the embroidered green wreaths. I could hear her smiling on the other end of the line.
And now, I sit here by the fire, Christmas tree lit up, wrapped packages of all shapes and sizes pouring out everywhere from beneath, my big brown Cheyenne asleep and softly snoring at my side. The morning is still very quiet, very peaceful. I hope your day is as content as this morning is for me.
Merry Christmas! You know I love you. XOXO