If ever there was a time of year that feels liminal, it is now. The short days between Christmas and the New Year are neither here nor there. We stand at the threshold of a new year. Some of us may be ready to leave behind the year and dash into a new one. Others may feel themselves standing in the doorway of 2011 looking back at all that 2010 held. I find myself feeling a bit of both.
This Advent was one of the best ever for my family. We had fun together. My girls seem to understand the meaning of Christmas better with each passing year. I loved hearing from them what their favorite traditions are and it was pure joy to watch them use the utmost care in selecting gifts for each other. But newest - and best - of all, it was relaxing. I feel ready for a new calendar year after ending my year with Advent.
This is due in part to the things we didn't do this Christmas, but it is also simply a gift. It's a gift to feel rested heading into a new year that brings a birthday just five days into the year. It's a gift to feel refreshed and ready to resume homeschooling as we await lottery results January 8th. It's a gift to breathe deeply and sleep soundly and live in the moment.
But even as I've lived in the moment in a way that is right and good, I feel the need to look back, however briefly on 2010. It's been a year of great change for us. Our annual Thanksgiving letter featured a set of doors created by B. She made them out of paper, decorated them with trees and snipped tiny paper curtains to adorn the windows. They were lovely. And I simply had to share them with others. So I trimmed them and copied them onto paper, then labeled them the Doors of Thanksgiving. Upon these doors, we wrote the things we were thankful for in 2010. And above the doors, I wrote:
Doors are a good 2010 symbol for our family. We opened new doors and closed old ones. We lost some doors (during the long awaited renovation of our kitchen) and hung new ones (adding a bedroom for Bekah at the back of the house). In early 2010, Shannon dubbed 2010 the year of change. Little did we know how much change would come. We traded in a set of bright red school doors for the door to our home: This time last year, all three of our daughters were enrolled at the same sweet elementary school. Now, 10 year old Anna is home schooled, while 9 year old Bekah and 6 year old Kate walk through the bright red doors of Lockeland every morning for fourth grade and first grade. Who knows what next year may bring?I think it's good to look back, especially on a year that brought more change than I could ever have imagined 360 days ago. I wouldn't undo any of the changes we've experienced this year. As I prepped, cleaned and cooked in preparation for an open house on Sunday, I was more thankful than ever for our new kitchen. The more I use it, the more I like it. Its functionality is nearly stunning when I think about our previous space. And while my surgery this past January was a change I didn't see coming, I learned from it and am thankful to have a leg that will straighten completely.
School wasn’t the only front that brought change. We also went from walking through the glass doors of West End Community Church weekly to entering wooden ones, behind which lies the quiet of St. Bartholomew’s. We traded the doors of an old red van for the doors of a silver one, much to the dismay of our girls. We’ve visited old doors – gracing the thresholds of family and friends – and have welcomed friends new and old through the front door of our home. Through each and every door, we hope we’ve journeyed closer to becoming who God made us to be. It is only the faith that this is true that enables us to keep opening doors to unknown places. We hope 2010 has brought your family blessings as varied as those we’ve experienced and that 2011 opens the doors to bountiful blessings.
But looking back also makes me turn around and look forward. Because I wonder what 2011 will bring. What will come when we cross the threshold and leave the year of change? A year of stability? That's nearly laughable. A year of more change? Likely, but hopefully not on the scale of 2010.
For a few more days, I'll just enjoy the liminality of this season. I'll straddle the year ending and the year beginning and try to simply rest in the peace that Advent brought and Epiphany reinforces.