Today as I listened Shane and Shane on shuffle at work, “O Come O Come Emmanuel” came on. And while I normally don’t listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, I let it slide today.

And, so, right now I want to do nothing less than blast Christmas music, pour a cup of coffee, and curl up in the recliner in my parents’ living room.

I want it to be cold outside, so cold that I get to wear a sweater and a scarf with my pea coat as I wander from Starbucks to store and back to Starbucks, enjoying mochas with my best friends.

I want to stay up late with my brother talking theology, brandy in one hand and chocolate in the other, laughing at the same stories we always tell each other.

I want to get up early in the morning with Amanda, frost on the windows, and start a fire in the hearth, cuddling on the couch beneath the warmth of the afghan.

And I want this so bad right now because I’m a little stressed. And I’m a little exhausted. And I know peace and rest wait for me, like every year, with family and friends and the cold and Christmas.

Because that’s when I’m most alive. And I look ahead to what will come.

But I also look around for what is happening now. Because peace and rest are not objects to be gained and lost. They are emotions to be felt in degrees.

And the Spirit moves in our hearts. And in looking behind to what’s ahead, we can clearly see the present—the reality of Love and Grace.

And so I pray the rosary, ending with this prayer of St. Patrick:

I bind myself to-day The strong Name of the Trinity, By invocation of the same, The Three in One and One in Three. I bind this day to me for-ever By power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation; His baptism in Jordan river; His death on Cross for my salvation; His bursting from the spicèd tomb; His riding up the heavenly way; His coming at the day of doom; I bind unto myself today. I bind unto myself today The virtues of the star-lit heaven, The glorious sun’s life-giving ray, The whiteness of the moon at even, The flashing of the lightning free, The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks, The stable earth, the deep salt sea, Around the old eternal rocks. Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

And so, today, I am thankful for Christmas music out of season.

P.S. This post is part of the Thankful Tuesday series here on the blog, an idea originally started by Micha Boyett.