December 28, 2010: . . . “And it’s all still in there.”

To paraphrase W. C. Fields: All things considered, I’d rather have the Blizzard Christmas of 2010 to the Norovirus Christmas of 2007 (when our entire family took turns being violently ill.). Although the terrible driving conditions meant some family members had to leave our Boxing Day dinner early—so we didn’t have our annual opportunity to systematically check-in, easily my favorite Christmas tradition—two members of our far-flung family stayed an extra day. A treat. Being housebound also meant all those special holiday leftovers were especially appreciated and grandchildren’s toys entertained their owners and their doting aunts and uncles and grandparents.

And, of course, we were lucky: We didn’t lose power and this drafty old house, which shook and swayed every time a stiff wind roared past, kept us (relatively) warm and dry. And when we ran out of coffee—ohmygosh!—we could simply climb over the snow banks of Union Square to buy locally roasted French Roast.

The people of Scituate, a seaside town south of Boston, were not so lucky: homes and businesses were flooded, two houses burned down, dozens of people had to be evacuated from the chest-high water.

Maureen Trayers, who lives next door to one of the burned homes, and whose own house was heavily flame-damaged, said this as she was being rescued: “We just had Christmas. And it’s all still in there.”

Presumably, at that very traumatic moment, as she’s climbing into a rescue vehicle, by “all” Ms. Trayers meant the presents and the gift cards, the tinsel and the wrappings, the decorated Christmas tree, stockings; cookies and a turkey and eggnog.

But I’ll bet that very soon she’ll realize that, yes, the wonder of the winter solstice, of light in the darkness, the hope of a peaceful, promising new year, the blessings of being alive and together and safe; yes, Maureen, all that is still in there. In you. In me. In all of us.

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