The days after Christmas are the days I love most. All our preparation, all our late nights, early mornings, baking and secret keeping have found their purpose – we feasted, gifted, communed, worshipped, played. Now the hustle and bustle – the silver bells and corner Santa Clauses – tuck away, and the children quiet themselves to work out the projects found under the tree. It’s like a spell. I don’t get dressed for fear that it will break.
A holy hush has settled. The Babe was born, the shepherds have left, the angels have returned to their implementation of ordinary grace. Gloria in excelsis quiets to glory of ordinary day, the house falls sleepy beneath the hypnotism of flickering wicks, dripping wax, quiet candle flames. My children hide away in corners to play Lego and cars and dolls, entering make believe worlds made magical by the sheer miracle of Christmas.
It’s almost unreal. I almost want to poke the bubble to see if it will burst, to shake us upside down like a snow globe and decide I must be imagining the peace. We’ve stepped into the verse of a Bing Crosby carol, and my heart is holding its breath. I’m waiting for something – not pessimistically, not waiting for the other shoe to drop – but deeply, awaiting an explanation of this grace. This tangible gift of peace and quiet feels holy, on purpose, as though intentionally saying to my heart: whatever comes next, whatever happens after this, hold onto this peace, because the steadfastness of the Hand that holds you know will continue to hold you when this spell breaks and hard life takes place.
We eat. We eat lasagnas and soups and cinnamon rolls and salads and oranges and cookies – teacakes, spritz, gingerbread, peanut butter, chocolate hazelnut – foods layered in our pantry and fridge that will last us a week. We drink. We drink coffee and tea and chocolate and chai. We plow through breakfast meats brought to us on all the way from Florida in a frozen suitcase, and trail mixes sent via U.S. Mail from the Pacific coast. It is a brimful world inside these walls, inside our hearts, inside this Oklahoma home.
There is no rush. Ice has silenced the world outside, and North Wind is busy shaking the house like a child shaking a piggy bank just to hear what’s inside.
Joy, laughter, grace.