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The day before Christmas, we talked about waves. My son’s call came in the early morning from a thousand miles away–I closed my eyes so he could sit beside me. It was an honest talk… where we let the truth rise and fall on each other. A mother holding her son, that’s Christmas, I thought, and held him in my heart as I listened.

You said when you’re up, life is bright…buoyant. Hold on though, the wave rolls.

We talked about your early twenties. How hard it was to feel stable, to just get by. You found art, cooking, like me, too much drinking and smoking, like me. So distraught, far too intense, way too serious. A little wild? Enough.

When the wave is high, do you take the time to look up? I wondered as he talked. The exhilaration is all consuming like the season’s electric lights which are nothing more than painted rainbows on paper. They will eventually be rolled up and packed away. Life’s lessons are learned best at the bottom.

Did you know that Christmas decorations are at their best on the beach? The sun’s light shelters itself behind a swaddling of clouds. Not imposing its brilliance, yet lighting the shadows in and around me.


Water rushes up to the soles of my boots and I step back. The charcoal colored lake shimmers light as it reminds me of my own immersion, there, in that water, in those waves. A symbol of my surrender.

I look up and see the wings of the gulls overhead–up down up down up down they flap. See? You need both to roll with life, to soar.

Water brings Humility. The Son’s Light, Grace. And His Wings? Yes, you already knew. Freedom.

You are my own son, whom I cherish, my gift without end.

It’s the eighth day of Christmas. Four more. But like my love for you, the Christ Child has no end. It’s just a new beginning of His Magnificent Forever.


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