I want to join my little penguin friend in wishing you a very Merry Christmas. If you celebrate Hanukkah, like much of my family, then a happy Hanukkah to you. If you celebrate something else, or nothing at all, then I wish you the same: peace, joy, and a new year that is filled with the same. I still celebrate Christmas, and I celebrate hard. It pains me that it’s so commercial, the heart of it being so much the opposite of all we seem to strive for at this time of year. Christmas to me is deeply personal, a celebration of the possibilities and hopes of the deepest longings of our hearts: peace on earth and the making right of all that brings us sorrow. It’s the annunciation of the angel to the world that God sees our tears and chooses not only to wipe them away but to share them. Some days it takes more faith than others to believe. Still, I believe.
2011 was a rough year. Like all years. It was also amazing. I lost, to cancer, a friend who was dear to my heart, and gained others. I mourn her loss, and celebrate the others. I celebrate this world of wonders in which we live, and the fact that not only can I still walk, but I’m still alive. I love this line from a Marc Cohn song: Maybe Life was curious to see what you would do with the gift of being left alive. Indeed. And I celebrate you all, gifts to me from a God whom I still believe to be good and kind, despite evidence to the contrary at times. In this season I am profoundly grateful for what, and whom, I have, both to God and to all those who by choice are gifts in my life. Thank you for every comment, every email. Thank you too for supporting me and my Craft & Vision team; every eBook you buy is a gift to me, keeping me and the 13 other authors and 5 others on my team at least partly fed. Your purchase of my books not only gives me an audience but a livelihood, and I don’t take that for granted, either. From the bottom of my heart thank you. And from all of us over here, we wish you the happiest of holidays, the merriest of Christmasses, and a 2012 filled with peace, joy, health, and the fullness of a life lived in gratitude. Merry Christmas, Friends.
I am a Ninja. Antarctica, 2011. Photo by John Birch
I am officially going off the grid on December 19. No more twitter, FB, blogging, or otherwise. I turn 40 on December 24, and will be offline, cuddled up, and celebrating 40 years. I’ve already got a wallpaper posted for January 01, and that’ll go up as the new year turns on the east coast of North America. From there I’ll post postcards as I can; I’ll be in Ethiopia and Kenya and Tanzania until February 01, then I’ll be back in full force. See you then. And until then, my very best of the season. Cheers!