I know for a fact that at one time in their lives, these ladies would have started the party at 10:30 PM…not be wrapping it up at that hour.
Not that I’m complaining.
This year, you see, the annual “Christmas Cookie Exchange” took place at our house…bringing together about a dozen dear friends – from Gerri’s high school and college days – for a few hours of frivolity and cheer.
I made an appearance early on, just to be sociable. But I also have the good sense to understand that this is a “Ladies Only” affair…so before long, I headed up the stairs from the main level…and started biding my time.
Couldn’t go to bed. Not quite yet: I knew there’d be some post-party clean-up that would require my attention.
Couldn’t quite keep my eyes open, either. Not once the hour struck 10 PM or so. (What can I say? I’m a lightweight.)
Then, roused by the first wave of departures, I made my way back down to the kitchen – to say a few farewells…and ruefully acknowledge the days when these friends (and I) used to party a bit later into the night.
Of course, in those days, I didn’t typically get up for early Mass. While it was admittedly a bit of a struggle, I was glad that I got my rear in gear this morning…because it gave me the chance to hear an Advent blessing that I otherwise would have missed – a remarkably apt, if somewhat obscure, phrase from the book of Sirach.
Blessed [are they] who shall have seen You
and who [fall] asleep in Your friendship.
Who knew that Sirach was a “après-party” kind of guy? But having encountered his words early-on the morning after the big event, I could see the truth in his assertion. The simple gift of sleep is a curious kind of grace, I thought…one that’s often under-appreciated. And friendship certainly makes this gift easier to receive.
Good friends are like a little bit of God, stopping by for a visit. Their laughter, their shared memories, tend to erase anxieties…even if only for a time. Friends create excellent conditions, in other words, for having the chance to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Something to ponder…indeed, something to be grateful for…as we mark Gaudete, the joyful and joy-filled Third Sunday of Advent.
With friends all around, it’s ever-so-easy to see that “among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 12:6)
And, it turns out, ever-so-easy to then settle in for a long winter’s nap. 😉
Come, Lord Jesus! Come!
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.