O Christmas

(I wrote this a few weeks ago when our tree was still up and never posted, so here it is!)

This winter has been a snap of cold, and then the joy of following a single flake as it falls stories past our window. It has been the freedom to huddle inside by the tree, the smell of a lit match and soft beeswax, the comfort of turning into a sturdy building from the river's wind. The mailbox holding a red envelope with a card.

Winter is usually my second favorite season in New York, but it's been my first this year. This year, there has been a quiet, a deep calm, a belonging in this crazy place.

I'm totally in love with New York this season, and that itself is an astounding, long-awaited gift. I've been smiling for no reason on the crowded subway (!) and noticing that underneath all the elbowing on the subway steps, there are also these moments when I am in the world's happiest grocery store and think--I live here! And when I'm at a cafe at 7:30 with my girls and think--life is beautiful! And when I finally stop and say--even if today brings pain, it will bring grace even more.

Our little apartment's tree is a full 8.5 feet this year, and she is tall and slender and holding onto her springy needles still. I love the places our ornaments were carried from. Norway. Ireland this summer. Our first married Christmas in Scotland.

Blessings from our quiet haven in this city (except not quiet right now. The fan is on full blast because a piece of granola burned in the oven. And my greatest fear is the fire alarm.)