Christmas in New York this year is one I will never forget. I've wanted to just hold onto every last drop of it. The days and moments have felt so meaningful to me that countless times I've wished the whole thing could have been recorded on film. It has been that good. Our lives here have been truly incredible...more than I ever could have dreamed up.
But, I am also keenly aware of how fragile life is - and goodness - and hope - and joy. No matter what life you or I have, things quite often do not go as planned and the pull to get sucked into anger, disappointment, pity, or self-doubt is always there. The moment we let our guard down, those things can just take over so quickly.
A few days before Christmas, I experienced this. Something terrible happened to us. We had been dealing with an ongoing situation with some people that was just awful and all consuming for weeks and weeks. It was wearing on me at a time when I wasn't on my A-game. It took us (and especially me) to our limits and at one point, I actually felt despair, something I haven't felt in years and years.
But, quite a miracle happened. The love and care of my husband saved me. He prayed for me, loved me, believed in me. He even cheerfully turned on Elf and set up our Christmas tree.
But the thing that helped me the most to turn things around was his prayer and blessing. Somehow the light that he was willing to share with me healed me when I wasn't capable of healing myself. The awful stuff I was feeling literally evaporated and I was able to get back to my normal self. I'm still in awe that this happened and felt I should share it here. It was a holy night for me, one that I will never forget. To me, miracles like these are why I want to celebrate Christmas. It's why I absolutely love the words of the beautiful hymn, "O Holy Night." I love that Christ taught us to "love one another" and that his "law is love and his gospel is peace" and that his message brought a "thrill of hope" to the world. I think no matter what our beliefs, we all need that hope. Without it, despair is too ever present.
I'm so grateful to say that we went on from that night to have the most lovely Christmas celebration ever. For us, it truly was a celebration of peace and love and joy.
We got to go to our friends' annual Tapas Party, which really is the best event of the year. It was as spectacular as ever and it was such a blessing to be surrounded by our dearest friends. I shudder to think that I could have missed it.
For our tapas contribution, Danny made miniature Navajo tacos with carnitas pork, black bean puree, and homemade tomatillo salsa. Soooo, soo good.
We also went to Dyker Heights to see all the houses covered in lights. :) It's a tradition not to be missed.
Afterward we went to Sunset Park (Brooklyn's Chinatown) for a Chinese banquet at Pacificana. SO fun to sit around a huge table with all our friends and have a Chinese feast.
We also spent one day in the city and went to see the Hobbit in Times Square, walked along 5th & 6th Avenues, saw the famous store windows, the Saks light display, and the Rockefeller Tree. New York is so, so magical.
We got sushi at Hatsuhana, one of the highest rated sushi places in New York. It's on 48th St., right near all the festivities. We really, really loved our meal and I would say this should be a new Christmas tradition. Nothing like some miso soup to warm you up on a winter night after strolling along 5th Avenue.
And, on Christmas Eve, we headed to the beautiful upper east side for the live nativity pageant at the gorgeous Heavenly Rest Episcopal Church. This is such a beloved tradition among our Brooklyn and Westchester friends.
It was so meaningful to be there and sing Christmas hymns and celebrate Christmas with so many New Yorkers.
And, on Christmas morning, after a wonderful early breakfast with dear friends, we went to ice skate in Prospect Park at the brand new skating rink next to the lake. The scenery was spectacular. And the children we were with were the cutest things ever as they learned to skate. :)
We are truly so thankful for Christmas and all it represents. We're thankful for the joy it brings to families and lives. We're thankful that it's possible to heal and feel peace.