Today (December 21, 2020), is the start of Winter. I always smile when the winter solstice comes about each year, because here in Alberta, winter as we know it, has generally made a dynamic appearance long before now. We can actually have snow in all twelve months, although very rare in July and August, but I’ve experienced snow, even a light dusting of it in our summer months.
We’ve actually been fortunate this year. We haven’t had much snow, and the Chinook winds have blown most of the time throughout the last several weeks. I suppose some global alarmist is already blaming climate change, but truly this is a fairly common occurrence here in southern Alberta. We are so used to it. Still, I look forward to the start of Winter because it actually means we are on the downhill so to speak, towards Spring. Today marks the longest day of the year. The sun rose this morning at 8:40 a.m. and it’s supposed to set at 4:33 p.m. Tomorrow, we start to gain sunlight each day. Yay!
Ten years ago, I remember watching a lunar eclipse on the Winter Solstice with my youngest child. She was trying to take pictures of it with her cell phone camera, which was pretty amusing in itself, but even more funny when she asked her Dad if she should stand on a chair to get “closer to the moon” to get a better picture! Tonight we’re supposed to have another celestial event: the aligning of the planets Jupiter and Saturn that has been dubbed the “Christmas Star”, because it will look like one big star in the sky when they align. We won’t see the like for another 800 years, but we will miss it because even as I write this, we’ve got a storm front moving in, and we are expecting 10 – 20 cm. of snow by tomorrow.
But, enough of the weather report…
It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Ponderosa. The house looks festive. I managed to talk my husband into putting up some Christmas lights outside, so I bought three “disco” type bulbs that flash lights on the house. My sweet husband, screwed one into a socket outside and declared, “Good enough.” When he’s right, he’s right.
My adult children and I have been texting often about how we will exchange gifts and wishing each other an in-person “Merry Christmas!”, without breaking any lockdown rules this year. I think we’ve got it figured out with a drive-by gift exchange in our driveway, and a Zoom online meeting on Christmas Eve. It’s certainly not ideal, but it will do. My arms will miss hugging on my grandbabies, but I might keep my Christmas tree and holiday décor up until we can actually gather and hug each other again. I figure if the big box stores can advertise “Christmas In July” specials, I should be able to keep my tree up until then too!
I had the privilege of having a journalist from Denmark interview me for an article she is writing on how people are spending a “Covid Christmas” this year. She contacted me after reading my blog post: “Silent Night, Holy Night“. I am looking forward to reading her article when it comes out this week. I will admit, talking about Christmases past with her, and how different this year will be, did not depress me as I thought it would. Instead, it made me determined to celebrate this 2020 Christmas by creating an atmosphere of fun embracing the differences rather than lament the changes. In a way, this is an opportunity to focus on making memories with my husband alone and as they say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I plan on making a Danish meal of frikadeller (Danish meatballs) for him on Christmas Eve after we’ve attended our church’s Christmas Eve service.* He has already said he is really looking forward to that. We’ll have our tiny turkey dinner on Christmas Day, and we are already thinking a Danish Smorgaasbord is the best way to spend New Year’s Eve to say farewell to 2020 and welcome in 2021.
I am praying my kids will make some special Christmas memories with their families this year. I have said to them that this is an opportunity to create their own unique traditions. I’m excited to hear what they do.
The sun has now set; my heart is full. The snow is starting to fall. I praise God for this day and the days to come. Happy Winter Solstice!
*(Note: we are still allowed to gather in church services here in Alberta, but only at 1/3 rd congregational capacity and we are all distanced six feet apart and masked up.)