Our two year old, Abbey, has a new trick. She closes her eyes super tight, grins, and then says "Wow! It's SO dark in here!" The kid knows how to get a laugh.
It's an appropriate sentiment for this Christmas Eve Eve, though - with your eyes closed it can be pretty hard to see the light. In this season of miracles (and trees with no leaves providing stellar views into woodsy wildlife habitat) we need to open our eyes and see that miracles are really all around us. The whole planet is one big sparkling, pulsating, laugh-till-you-cry and cry-till-you-laugh miracle. But you can only see it if you're looking. If your eyes are clouded with to-do lists and stress and the endless noise of modern life, it can get awful dark in there. But, if you can take a moment (five minutes, a cup of coffee's worth of time) and really look at the world around you - you'll see birds still flying and flitting and sitting with puffed up feathers that manage to keep their bodies a toasty 104 degrees despite the achingly cold winter weather. You'll see squirrels chasing each other round trees (and falling down fairly often) faster and funnier than any Tom and Jerry cartoon. (Office Space fans: watch the squirrels, they are merry.) You'll see evergreens full of cones and skies full of snow and everything, everything tinted that wonderful gold and grey color of the watercolor winter sun. And then, miracle of miracles, you'll notice that the hardwood trees are already setting their buds for spring. Wrapped up tight in their casings, spring flowers are waiting out the weather, ready to burst forth and welcome back the light. They know that light always follows the darkness, that warmth always trumps the cold.
Abbey seems to know this too. She knows that she can open her eyes at any time, see the world afresh, and have a nice big laugh. Miracle of miracles.