Friday, December 22, 2006

December 22, 2006 - Thoughts Beside the Christmas Tree

Well, it took me a while to hang those Christmas lights. I’ve been having a little difficulty staying on task, these days. But it got done, eventually – just an hour or so before our church youth group arrived for their annual, post-caroling Christmas party.

We finally did get our Christmas tree, too – again, just long enough before the carolers arrived to get the ornaments hung. The local Christmas tree lots were out of the good stuff, by the time we got there, so we drove the extra distance to a tree farm. We happened upon the right candidate just before it got too dark to see – a huge white pine (a kind we’ve never had before). It fills up the living room rather nicely – and, being recently cut, it’s not likely to lose its needles any time soon.

These days before Christmas this year are busy, and full. I can’t help thinking back, though, to last year, when Christmas was an altogether different sort of holiday for us.

My cancer diagnosis was only a couple of weeks old. I can remember numbly going through the holiday motions – getting a tree, decorating it, hosting the annual Youth Connection party – but I honestly can’t recall what I was thinking, through most of that time. I was a jumble of emotions, having just “come out” to the family and the congregation as a cancer patient. I can remember wondering, glumly, if that would be my last Christmas – maudlin, maudlin! – though those are sort of thoughts that do bubble up, when the diagnosis is still new.

This year is entirely different. The little family rituals we go through, in these pre-Christmas days, are comforting rather than disturbing. Last year, I thought I might be dying. This year, I know I’m living with cancer.

And that’s OK.

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