All the Christmases roll down like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky…and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out what I can find.

But one Christmas morning was unlike the other Christmas dawns. We were awake early, of course, for my children always awoke early in the excited rush to find their gifts beneath the tree, so this was not unlike any other Christmas Day. But there had been a snowstorm overnight, and after expressing relief that the blizzard had not kept Santa from his appointed rounds, all three children – 11 years, 7 years and 4 years old – agreed to bundle up against the wind and cold and join me on a walk down our snow-hushed country road down to the frozen creek downhill from our home.

The snow had stopped and the wind had stilled, but no cars were on the road, and the plows had yet to stir, and so we walked through a world turned white upon white, and then we reached the stream. We were at the still point of the turning world. We were at the place of the nativity. We stood and looked in silence. And then the 7-year-old girl smiled and gushed, “Look, Dad! It’s a winter wonderland!”

No Christmas before or after was more perfect than that. But another came very close.

That Sunday before Christmas, I watched as you sang with a church choir. And your joy and beauty filled my heart as if I’d heard a heaven-sent chorus sent just to sing for me. That night, at a Christmas party, you made sure to wear the perfume I’d given you for your birthday. Next day, at dinner, you made sure to wear the glittery earrings I’d given you for Christmas. And that day we drank white wine from the fancy crystal goblets I’d bought – one for me, one for you, only for special occasions…

Then that silent night we went to bed. And I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I fell asleep, and the lullaby was your quiet breathing as you lay softly by my side.


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