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What a timely essay; thanks for validating what I have felt for some time but could only recently fulfill. My partner and I have been overwhelmed with health issues this fall. He's dealing with a chronic illness and I've been worn down by obligations; there just weren't enough hours in the day to "fit in Christmas". So here we are, on Christmas eve day with a decorated (artificial) tree, but not much else: no cards sent this year; no gifts for one another (or anybody else); the house is a mess and I'm just recovering from a bout with the flu, and yet....and yet, we're going to make this Christmas (unlike anyone of our others over the past 26 years) into something different; maybe something transcendent.

No Christmas Eve service tonight at our parish because we don't feel well enough and because the music at our parish, frankly, could use improvement. Instead, I'm cooking a modest dinner for us this evening, early to bed and off to a wonderful Christmas Morning service at a parish downtown with wonderful music.

Our "broken-down" Christmas promises to be something very special and restful. My partner says he'll never go back!