I used to believe that Advent ended when Christmas began. All of the waiting I was doing, and all of the associated possibilities -- expectations I placed on those close to me, time spent standing in lines at Macy’s and Port Authority, those cold mornings sitting on Brooklyn park benches wondering when something would happen -- none of it mattered because it would all fall into place come Christmas morning.
Now, years later, it’s Christmas night and I’m sitting on the couch gazing at our tree. Maybe it’s the glow of the lights, or the fullness of today, but I’ve come to believe something else -- that Christmas begins when Advent ends. I know that the moment I stop waiting, stop expecting, I will learn to soak up all of the beginnings, all of the signs that everything I wish for continues to happen again and again, just in ways that I might not be able to see as clearly.
Today, it was the time I spent styling my Mom’s hair, which fell in soft curls above her small shoulders. It was watching my Grandma smile and lick her spoon after eating a Jell-o parfait. It was the tiniest bit of snow melting on the evergreen trees, the softness of the piano keys under my fingers. I don’t remember many songs, but I’ll never forget how that feels. I know I can begin to learn again.
Merry Christmas, all. Be of good heart.