It's not the Christmas of storybooks and the more northern climates.
Christmas in Hawaii is warm -- high 70's, and this year it is very rainy. I am reminded of the last major flood in northern California, right at this time of year in 1996, when warm rains at high elevations melted most of a significant snow pack in the space of just a few days. Pineapple Express, they called it. But that's a story for another day.
It's not the Christmas Eve of bean soup and bread fresh from the breadmaker, shared with good friends, then bundling into coat and hat and gloves (for warmth, not fashion!) and of heading off to church.
It's not the Christmas morning of celebratory breakfast, basking in the warmth of shared family. Neither my mother or my brother and sister-in-law celebrate a Christ-centered Christmas. It's just another one of those obligatory family days with gift exchange.
It's not the very Scottish Christmas dinner we shared with Mark and Andrea in the years they lived in Groveland. Nor is it the Christmas of leftovers and football on the TV, and leisurely visits with friends and family.
Instead, I shared a breakfast of out-of-season strawberries with my mother at a table stacked with the special china and silver waiting to be returned to cupboards and drawers after making an appearance for Christmas Eve dinner. Then slipped off to church. Even there, it was clear that the main service of Christmas had happened the evening before. Very small attendance. No music. But Christmas, never-the-less.
How, I wonder, did I drift so far from the rest of my family in our ways of celebrating this particular holiday? Why is it so important this year?
Give thanks for memories, for friends and family. Give thanks for Christmas. Don't forget to pray.