Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Crease of Dawn Redux: a Vermont Christmas Morning

It has now been almost eight years and more than 150 essays since I started writing this blog.  One of the earliest essays was
also titled “The Crease of Dawn”, commenting on an amazing sunrise on a Florida beach.
 (See more at:  Today I share a story and a wonderful picture from another dawn, in a much chillier setting, from the snowy mountains of Vermont.

I have had the pleasure to come up to Vermont with my dear wife Jennie and her family since we first started dating in the early 80’s.  My father-in-law went to grad school and began his teaching career at Yale, and many years ago bought property in a small village in northeastern Vermont.  Over the years our extended family has built a home on the land and we have enjoyed it across all seasons.  While summer and fall visits are uniquely delightful, our tradition of gathering here to celebrate Christmas is one that I cherish.

This holiday, after a year of particular discord domestically combined with war, terrorism and tragedy across the globe, this Vermont Christmas visit seems uniquely peaceful and lovely.  My holiday wish is that we can all use this time of year to connect or re-connect with family and friends and find ways to remind us of the things that actually bind us all together.  Last night’s Christmas eve service at the village church was one such example.  My father-in-law lead the music at the service that included numerous traditional carols, a magnificent rendition of “Oh Holy Night” by Jennie’s sister Elizabeth, and a touching performance of “Peace Child” that brought tears to my eyes.  It was a poignant experience for me, remembering family and friends now passed, and literally cherishing the moment of sitting in a little pew with my two beautiful children, my wonderful wife, her family and our entire village church “community.” 

Rather than focusing on the ideas or ideologies that divide one group from another, I hope that we can stay centered on the fact that families and communities matter. That as parents we care for our children and work to make the world a better place for them, as children we care for our parents as they age, respectful and thankful for their roles in our upbringing, as neighbors that we are available for those who live close by, ready to be helpful in moments of their need regardless of race, background, or nationality, and the list goes on!

I wish you, your families and friends a very merry Christmas and I am reminded as I see this amazing “Crease of Dawn,” of the angels’ song from a Christmas night thousands of years ago…

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace goodwill toward mankind”  (Luke 2:14)

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