Rolling Blackouts

With all the beds full at my house this holiday season—which is the only gift a mother could really want—our home has been a whirlwind. Some of that activity has been remarkably not festive: Closets have been reorganized; Goodwill piles have grown. Yesterday, while vacuuming ceiling fans in a room that was forgotten, the power went out.

Immediately we jumped to the worst conclusion: spoiled refrigerator food, no heat and— a real first world problem— no lit Christmas tree.

As it turns out, the outage was short-lived. It seems our local power company is doing rolling blackouts to conserve energy as our outside temperatures hover in single digits. According to directenergy.com, rolling blackouts are “systematic temporary power outages that help bring balance to the supply and demand of electricity.” The website goes on to say that rolling blackouts are “typically the last step in a series of emergency procedures after a power supply shortage is detected.”

This got me thinking: isn’t that Christmas’s purpose as well? Isn’t Christmas our last resort? An end-of-the-year way to restore balance and equilibrium.

We travel through the year, over-extending, over-indulging, over-working. This year has been exhausting emotionally as well, with wars waging politically, socially, and internationally. We reach the holidays, only to have the hustle and bustle of the season deplete the last of our energy. As Christmas Eve dawns, how often do our weary faces mirror those of that traveling couple on a donkey?

The rolling blackouts that our utility company forced upon us in 10 to 15 minute increments are outside our control. But it strikes me that what is within our control is to implement our own personal blackouts: We need to be reminded, as Christmas always does, to suspend all activity, to open our hearts to joy, if only temporarily. To be at rest, thereby recharging our physical and emotional batteries.

With the severely cold temperatures, someone remarked that they wished they were on a warm island. I feel like I am. It’s an island of all whom I love, an island of laughter and anecdotes. The holidays call upon us to laugh heartily, to linger in pajamas a little longer, to eat an extra piece of pie. To drown in the voices we love, to revel in traditions that tie us to our past and to those we’ve lost.

When President Zelensky addressed our Congress this week, he remarked that despite no electricity, no heat, the Ukrainians will still gather around the holiday table and celebrate Christmas. They will create their own light. I don’t know when I’ve heard a better Christmas message.

Holiday blackouts silence the tinny carols playing on auto repeat in our minds and exchange them for “Silent Night.” Whether you’re alone this holiday season or fighting for a spot on the crowded sofa, there is a peace that’s possible when you take in a long, deep breath, block out all distractions and count your blessings; whether many or few they are signs of life. There can be light at our holiday tables– of our own making.

It’s appropriate that Christmas comes at the end of a long year, when we need it most. May you unplug, recharge, and find that peace that surpasses all understanding.

Merry Christmas!

3 thoughts on “Rolling Blackouts

  1. I love your island. We only get to stay here for a few days but I will take it, and hold on to the memories a lot longer.


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