I went to visit Lee on Christmas Eve.
The visiting room was decorated. A tree stood in the corner its lights twinkling brightly. A toy train chugged around the base,happily unaware of its location.
The air was full of the sounds of people in a festive mood. Lots of loud talking, laughter, and smiles.
There was a Santa sitting at a table passing out coloring books and crayons to the children visiting. A piece of humanity in a place that often seems to ignore the humanity of our loved ones.
I sat waiting for Lee.
I saw a college girl home for Christmas visiting her Dad. She smiled brightly and chatted away to him about her last semester.
Grandmas hugging their grandsons. A brother visiting from another city.
Snippets of conversation floating all around me. Green prison issued clothing everywhere–even peeking out from underneath Santa’s costume.
I heard someone say, “If I never wear green again, it will be too soon.” I chuckled to myself. Yes! It’s such an ugly color. Each inmate looking much like the others.
By the time Lee got to the visiting room, I was rather morose. I wished that we didn’t have to spend another Christmas apart.
He hugged me and I cried.
“Hey! What’s the matter?”
“I just miss you and I wish you were home for Christmas.” It is true that we miss him everyday, but everything seemed to crash in on me when I saw him.
He hugged me and said, “Forget about it.”
So the tears were tucked away for another day. The lights still twinkled. Santa still passed out books to children. Laughter still echoed around us. Green clothing abounded.
We sat together celebrating Christmas in our own way. Playing Yahtzee and laughing with each other.
Christmas really isn’t about who is home or not. It’s not about the gifts or what color our clothing is. It is only about Jesus.
Christmas comes even to the prison.