I suppose it has something to do with missing the people who aren't here. My sisters couldn't make it for Christmas Eve for the first time in a very very long time, and the only guest we had was my father-in-law who is a sweetheart, but didn't quite fill the house. The permanently missing faces are more of a problem, and there are more of them every year, but that is part of life if one lives long enough. Not my favorite part, by the way. The kids are grown and there just isn't the same level of excitement, even though Santa came and filled stockings and turned their chairs around so he could leave their gifts on them, the way he always has. Something is different. Something is missing.
At church today I stared at the altar and the flowers, the gold chalice and the white linens, the candle flames and the satin vestments and I kept hearing the thought in my head, "I have this. I have this," which was oddly comforting. Because ultimately it is the faith to which I cling, and it's the only thing that makes sense some days. I get seriously annoyed with the Catholic Church sometimes (being female and all that), but you couldn't drive me away with a whip and a chair. I have this; this faith in the Savior who put on flesh and became like us for a while. This increasing sense of the impermanence of life and the comfort of eternity. This firm belief that what is coming is going to be so far above whatever we've known so far. And all that mattered more than how many lights were put on the house or not, or how many presents were under the tree. And so I shall take a few quiet moments to rest in the Presence, firm in the knowledge that even if I don't know what's wrong, He does. And He'll know how to fix it.