She is resplendent when she's like this
positively glowing, talking
of the hanging of these lights
pulling them up and over her head
the lady Madonna herself.
I am the interloper when it comes to this
sulky as a teen, sniveling
around this house, pouty
that it's come around again,
the hunkered Scrooge-face herself.
Then she reminds me that she knows
it's not about all those things,
the presents or the stockings or
hanging perfect lit-up balls
"It's about family,"
she says, "that's all."
So maybe it's true that i have done all right managing the annual questions that come up this time of year. This year, with people occupyin' streets and parks and houses in the name of economic justice, i naturally walk around wondering if i've taught the rebelangel well thus far, seeing as how i've often let the consumerism run away with her. Then she says stuff like "it's about family," and i'm a little more settled. A little.
In spite of the regular Scrooge-face i wear this time of year, i could perhaps admit that this holiday comes around at the right time. When there's so little light and the landscape of the northern hemisphere goes monochrome, we need something to look forward to; something to give back the light -- so we fling ourselves into this holiday to keep from flinging ourselves off bridges.
Back in the way-back dizzy this holiday was the festival of light, the celebration of the return of longer days. Some believe this to be the reason that Jesus' birth was deigned to be right around now -- to give the Pagans a little more enticement to jump ship and go Christian. We've got a celebration like yours, right around the same time... so you don't have to give up nothin'....
Those are questions about this season's purpose that i've never quite reconciled. In any case, the return of the light does seem to me to be a good thing to celebrate. And of course, the reminder that at least once a year we will remember our loved ones and call them often, to talk of Christmas oysters and who will put the star on the tree and what size shoes the little ones are wearing.
We will remember, as we so often forget, that we have people in the world, and that they're thinking of us on this very day.
They're writing our names on sugar cookies
kissing our packages before they go off in the mail
they're laughing at the ornaments we made in kindergarten
they're sipping egg nog and wishing it was the kind we make
they're wishing they were hugging us and making fun of us in person...
They're knowing that if not now, then soon again
since at least once a year, we will think of them...