There is something about having a small child that makes me think about light, nearly constantly. Perhaps it’s spending so much time awake in the pre-dawn hours, watching him learn the difference between day and night. “Is it cold?” I said when I picked him up the other day. “Dark,” he said, reflectively.
But it’s more than that. It’s how he calls lights “moons,” and points at them and shouts in his bossiest joyful voice, “MOON ON!” … at six a.m. It’s singing, “It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights,” over and over to his tiny Muppet-obsessed self. It’s the exhaustion and joy of living in the constant glow of a toddler.
This season, unlike so many seasons past (and I hope some seasons future), I’m not looking forward to huge amounts of resting, sleeping in, movie going, and fancy cocktail sipping. (Though with the help of a few relatives, I do hope to get to do a tiny bit of each of those things.) Instead, I’m looking forward to those things that come, and then so rapidly go. I’m looking forward to a chubby two-year-old face blowing out birthday candles on his holiday pie. I’m wondering if Hanukkah candles and Christmas lights will also be “moons.” I can’t wait to see him shove his face with latkes. I’m waiting for tiny feet in tiny footed pajamas under the Christmas tree. I’m anticipating burning through energy I don’t have making holiday cookies, and smearing them with icing with a very small person who’s very into “painting.” I’m looking forward to oranges in stocking toes, and roasted game hens, and fires in fireplaces. I’m looking forward to lights, glowing in the darkness.
These days, rest is hard to find, but the light shines so brightly, it’s blinding.
Ever since I was a tiny child, the holiday season has started for me when night fell on the first night of Advent, and we would listen to the nearly impossible to hear voice of a single male soprano piping, “Once in Royal David’s City” before the hymn builds to the defining crescendo, “And he leads his children on, to the place where he has gone.” Even in our interfaith family, I still listen to this on that first dark night of waiting, every year. But now, I add the thought from the prophet Isaiah, “Then shall your light burst through like the dawn … Then shall your light shine in darkness.”
For each of you this season, religious, non-religious, secular, atheist, interfaith, I wish for you simply, light. Or as the clipping on my office bulletin board, from a Christmas service long ago instructs, “Break forth, radiant light.”
So for this season: everything calm, everything bright.
P.S. So much more to come: gift guides, #lazygirl holiday decor, winter weddings, ideas for proposing to a man this holiday season, what to wear to a holiday party (when you’re nursing), what the spirit of the holidays really means… and more.