Trying to make do seems the theme of this Christmas season. Amidst
uncertainty, illness and isolation, this Christmas isn’t like the ones we
are used to.
One Christmas season when my daughters were 6 and 8 years old,
we found ourselves without a car and wanting a Christmas tree. It
was just the three of us and the closest place to buy a Christmas tree
was two miles away. It seemed like a good Christmas activity to go
get a tree. So we set off. We took the bus, walking the last half-mile. I
had them pick out the smallest Christmas tree we could find, ending
up with about a five-footer. We couldn’t take the bus home with a tree
in tow so we set out on foot. I had the bottom trunk and one of the
girls carried the top of the tree. It was an uneven sort of walk given
our height difference; the tree jostled along between us at an angle,
threatening to slip out of our hands every few feet. They alternated
carrying it—as you can imagine, it didn’t take long for them to get
tired of carrying and walking. It was cold, dark, and there was snow
on the ground. Our boots sloshed down the sidewalk and they
complained. Complaining quickly led to fighting. I started to tell them
stories to distract them. "The Three Damsels NOT in Distress," I called
I don’t remember the actual stories but I know they all had to do with
three girls uniting together to triumph over adversity.
We were poor enough to not be able to afford a car. We were
divorced. It was cold. And dark. Yet, we were walking together
helping each other carry a burden. We had each other. We were
living a hard life with many challenges but I refused to buy into the
idea that we were in distress and needed saving.
This holiday season is hard and full of challenges. We have lost so much—people we love, jobs, certainty, social gathering, family get- togethers, singing together, the anticipation of whatever good meaning Christmas might have for each of us and the opportunity to celebrate together. I cannot tell you that you are a "Damsel NOT in Distress" but I hope that you are able to gather to be with someone that you care deeply about, and to know that with your combined strengths (and weaknesses) you will make it through with love. In this dark and uncertain time, this Damsel sends you holiday greetings and blessings.