Friday, one of our tenants, Randy, moved out. The room is empty except for furniture and drapes, the large master bath sits unused. He left the keys, a box of cookies and a gift card of thanks on the counter. We met in the drive, he, with his things in the car, me, home after a night of work. Small talk and shaking hands, goodbye.
The semester is over. The boys next door are still here, somewhat. This next week the street in front will be empty. And on the twenty-fifth we will celebrate a small christmas in the morning, and in the afternoon the boys will go to their dad's house to celebrate with him and their grandparents. I loved his parents (still do) and they loved me. He used to say, jokingly, "They like me better than they like you."
Why do things happen? Why do we love who we love?
Yes, it is the Christmas season. And the lights, though they burn through precious electricity and fuel, are lovely. The smell of pine and firewood. The planning, shopping, baking, decorating, and parties are all part and parcel of our christmas culture. But years and years ago, nearly too many to count, a baby was born in a manger because there were no rooms at any of the inns. And his mother wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him on the hay, and the animals stood round, snuffling and pawing. Was it cold that night? Was his mother uncomfortable? Was she happy and how much did she love him. And his father. His heavenly father. The one who placed this precious baby in the womb of this girl, how much did he love us that he should give us his only son. Birth is a profound miracle. This birth was THE profound miracle. And they called him Jesus, Emmanuel. They called Him, God named him, Jesus. And later, as a young man, he was betrayed, beaten and crucified to pay the price for our sins. He was the lamb, the sacrifice. And he is the reason we celebrate, he is the reason for Christmas.
It is light here now. The dull, gray light of a winter morning. Snow is on the ground. The air is cold, the furnace runs and two cats find comfort laying on beds, in chairs. The dog Huxeley now lives with Jim and Mary (bro-in-law and sister) and the boys are not here but will be home on tuesday. A few gifts lay under the tree and the rest will be bought today. Then there will be baking and cleaning and this evening, a movie. And as I walk around today, my heart will be a little lighter because I know, even if I know nothing else, that He loves me. God loves me. And isn't that enough.