January has hit us with a vengeance.
It is, suddenly, and without warning, winter.
I am finding myself a little slow at coming to grips with this chilly weather when I am still feeling all warm and fuzzy from Christmas.
But, I guess I’d better get over it and return to the business of reality; harsh and cold.
At our house, well, actually at my daughter’s house we did this Chinese Christmas exchange thing.
The exchange resulted in gift giving like no other.
My husband ended up with the gift of a several packets containing ingredients to make delicious soup. The present included a soup ladle.
I never thought much about it at the time, but at the moment, I’m thinking I sure would love to have some of that soup to warm my cold self up as I sit in a chilly office trying to will my thoughts to writing.
Warming oneself up in a less than toasty warm car or anywhere else for that matter seems important today with the temperatures dipping low, so ridiculously low.
Even warm thoughts help.
Thinking warm thoughts bring me to yesterday when my sister and her husband came to visit.
Thinking of their visit conjures up nice warm thoughts about a post Christmas day when it was cold outside, but, luckily, toasty warm inside. I felt like the talk and the laughter was kind of like being wrapped up in a warm, fuzzy blanket. The fireplace flames obligingly flickered to life and the flame of the coal oil lamp on my dining room table was a gentle reminder of long ago Christmases and those dearly beloved souls who have gone on before us.
To me, the visit was the last piece of a Christmas puzzle that needed to fit together to make the holiday complete.
During their visit we watched a movie called Joyoux Noel.
We also watched the movie last year, but no one remembered that until someone said, “didn’t we watch that movie last year?”
For me the movie, Joyoux Noel, does everything a really good Christmas movie is supposed to do. My kids tease me because I like sappy Christmas movies, but I think, that, sometimes, I need to be reminded that miracles really do happen.
The story, Joyoux Noel, is based on true facts about soldiers during the First World War who actually called a true on Dec. 24, 1914.
Of course the story is embellished because, it’s a movie, for crying out loud. There is, however, enough truth in it that you get the idea that one Christmas Eve a long time ago the barriers to no man’s land crumbled and enemies, for a brief moment in time, became friends.
These soldiers were more than Germans and British and French. They were husbands and fathers and sons. Mostly, they were simply people.
People caught in a war they didn’t want to be in.
And on Christmas Eve they laid down their weapons and declared a truce. They visited, laughed, exchanged cigarettes and stories and shared a Christmas drink together.
That was the miracle.
But the reality was when word got out about their truce, their superiors were angry and demanded they get right back to the business of war and killing people. This killing mission called war had been interrupted because of Christmas, of all things.
After the movie, my company leaves and I quietly straighten up my kitchen, turn out the lights and think sobering thoughts about history which has forever been marked by wars and rumours of wars.
And I think about the year ahead.
2018! What does it hold for all of us? Who knows?
It is frightening and unsettling to think that history does not really ever end, but only repeats itself over and over again.
But, still, there are those moments when the barriers to no man’s land crumble and all that is good and right and just becomes the world’s reality.
One can only hope that there are many such moments in 2018 for each and every one of us.
May the year ahead bring you all your very own moments of joy, prosperity and good will towards all.
Happy New Year!
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake.