Christmas Every Day

Recently, a friend growing gingerly despondent as “the season” approacheth facebooked his lament on the jolly rigors of the holly days. First let me say that I’m almost certain that William Zinsser would recommend relegating the particular pseudo-verb—facebooked—to strict residence in the Land of Noun. But then, I’ve yet to check with him on this and will have to get back with you. Let’s just say he’s not likely to go all a-twitter. That piece of editorial biz out of the way, I’ll now go on about my friend’s going off. He was basically paralleling (another tasty pseudo-verb) Charlie Brown’s dissociation with “the season” due to it’s rampant, and I do mean rampant commercialism.

I get it. It does seem a little strange to see tinsely, glittery Christmas trees going up in Home Depot before my jack-o-lantern has turned to mush. And this more commonly occurring oddity is, of course, followed immediately with the fury of the mad shopping dash—mad because it requires us to push ourselves way beyond our already blistering pace. We end up ditching our rarely appreciated daily respites such as a simple lunch, a hardy workout, meditation, a quiet dinner, some quality face-time (not facebooking time) with family, the kids or dear friends. All of those reinvigorating moments get sucked like sewage into the spiraling vacuum of the holiday maelstrom, surfacing only momentarily if we can manage to get a vacation day or two before the sudden onslaught of the New Year. For me, it just all goes by so blindingly fast. I no more hear, “Deck the halls with . . . , ” and WHOOSH, it’s time to settle up with the IRS. To quote Fred Willard’s Mike LaFontaine character in A Mighty Wind, “Hey! Wha’ happened?”

Then, there’s the guilt.

“GUILT! It’s Christmas! Birth of our Lord! Happy endings! Coming together to celebrate,” you say.

One of those is on the money, but I’ll toy with that in a minute. First, as I said, there’s the guilt. And this particular guilt is born of expectation (as if the other flavors of guilt aren’t.) Expectation, that is, of things piled high under a glowing indoor pine. Let me tell you, my son has expectations. This year, things being as they are, like the tree, we’ve trimmed those expectations. Yet, if the soft underbelly of the tinsely conifer should turn up lonesome or overly sparse Christmas morning, you can bet there’ll be nog a-flyin’. So I must make certain to put enough time as well as dough aside to meet said expectations or the guilt that’s driving me to make certain I do not fail in my obligation will literally drive me into utter oblivion. That is, an oblivion beyond that which I already claim as my daily comfort zone.

Okay, so I’m mountaineering a molehill. But, then, am I? Really? How many of us are pushing ourselves and our bank accounts into the “ouch” column so as to make certain that we’ve “done our Christmas duty?” Be honest. Makes you want to use the other spelling of duty.

“Hold on a scad there, Roy boy! Christmas is not about getting. You’ve got it all twisted around. It’s about giving, bonehead! Where’s the love?”

Absolutely right! If I buy one item, one teensy microscopic thingy whilst driven by guilt, I’ve gotten the whole works backwards.

My point.

Christmas is not about rushing madly to and fro, competing with family and friends, or self, over latest and greatest; dashing into crowded stores, being dredged through dragging lines, or feeling that if we’ve not done our best, done enough, or spent the most, it is the same as doing nothing. To that I say nothing doing. Rather, it’s the spirit of giving that matters, the spirit of Christmas that makes all of the rushing about worthwhile. In short, it is all about Spirit; also said as connectedness, reunion, and love.

Christmas, beyond all of the tinsel and trappings, is a celebration of oneness. It’s the giving to one another something we too often fail to share during the rest of the year, the rest of the year being the majority of our lives. Love. Quiet, unexpectant, unconditional, unmistakable love. Most of the year we bury this love under a smoldering pile of needs, or disguise it as something it isn’t like sex or food or work or money or fill in the blank. But when Christmastime rolls around, true love threatens to burst forth like the bright red leaves of a freshly purloined poinsettia. At least, we all somehow agree upon a reason to come together, to share in our good fortune, if only by giving gifts, and to recognize, if only subconsciously, the whole, that being us,  is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Peter Gabriel said it as, “More Than This.” And so it is.

For this one reason alone, I look forward to Christmas. Yes, the shopping is inane, the crowds brutal, the traffic snarling. But when the quiet eve before comes, and I’m snuggled under a blankie in new jammies with footies and the bottom buttoned up, sipping hot cocoa among the most wonderful, giving and loving people on the planet; singing, laughing, sharing, and celebrating a deep warming joy, whatever the effort, it’s worth it.

I vote for Christmas every day. With certain modifications, thank you.


~ by a.b.johnson on 12/03/2009.

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