There’s something about the desert in December.
I often recall my childhood and one of my favorite memories is Christmas time in our family home where we lived in the desert.
When I was a young child, my parents opened their home both on Christmas Eve and Christmas day for whoever may want to stop by. We always had many people over and some would stay through the late night hours. They would eat, drink, and be merry. Company enjoyed my parents hospitality.
For Christmas, Mom and Dad always had us decorate a fresh, douglas fir tree. Dad would sometimes put up lights outside, but mom for sure always added festive decor. She would spray fake snow on our outside bedroom windows and prop up a cardboard fireplace that flickered a light for flames in our living room.
I always looked forward to the Christmas season besides the gifts I hoped I’d get, because I loved having cousins come to our home so that we could play for endless hours. We would play all day and night.
I remember many times we would ride our bikes through the neighborhood at night. It was for sure cold, but riding my bike and seeing the bright moon glistening on the desert scape, made me realize something to the time that I hold very dear to this day.
Both in school and in my catechism, the story of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem at night, in piercing cold, on and in between the small hills in the desert, made me relate to this part of the story in the way that I could feel and somewhat relate to it.
By the time I started 7th grade, my parents decided to split. Christmas was no longer something I look forward to. There was no peace, no unity. My mom tried to continue the spirit, but it just wasn’t there. We had a tree, but the home was cold and the outside showed it too.
However, the story of Joseph and Mary traveling stayed with me. Due to Christmas stories on TV like The Little Drummer boy, which placed a seed in me of hope. Something I wanted to have. Something that took my attention like the peace, joy, and family I was seeing. When watching this child’s film in particular, you see images of the desert at night. The bright stars. The shimmering sand. My backyard canvas.
I do believe my childhood home, for a bit, had all this. And even though my canvas is different now, a long way from these childhood memories, where I’m in a home not close enough to the desert, but in a home where God has helped me find those restful qualities once again. But thankfully, whom I now share with my husband.