It's the week before Christmas and all through the house
No one could found except for the mouse and me.
It's the holiday season and everyone is talking about the sparkling lights, all the parties they have planned, how happy they are with the decorations on their trees, and how they found the absolute perfect gift. They're embracing the birth of Christ, the celebration of life, the blessing of oil when it seemed it wouldn't last. Remembering family and friends, those with us and those that have passed. Love encircles us and surrounds us and we are once more reminded of the fragility of life. We need to embrace one another. Share our lives. Prepare the for the new year and all the promise it will bring. They are watching family movies together and reading books together.
Do you know my family's favorite Christmas movie? Yes, Christmas Vacation. Because, honestly, that's usually how our Christmas holidays turn out.
Please don't think I'm a scrooge. I'm really not. I think I'm just tired this year and I've begun to realize the expectations for an event almost never pan out the way we dream they would, well unless you're William and Katherine and let's face it, no one I know is ever going to rise to that level of spectacular visions of sugarplums and diamonds. I am thankful for what I have. I try with every moment I'm aware to remember that millions of people are suffering through this season of giving. What little I have is more than 70% of what most Americans have and 90% more than what most my brothers and sisters in this world own or can even dream of.
And I, like quite a few people I know, have lost loved ones during this season. My son died in December. My mother died in December. Most of my family have passed away during the holidays but even that does not compare to the tragedies taking place in the Philippines right now or depth of sorrow still being experienced by the Japanese people.
For that reason, I'm going to stay away from writing about Christmas this whole season. In some sense, I feel as if life would be happier without Christmas. Why not just celebrate life every day? Ring a salvation bell in August? Decorate a tree in June? Surprise your kids with a present wrapped and waiting at the breakfast table in September? You love them, why not? Have a turkey dinner because the sun came out with no clouds to cast shadows and the sky was the deepest blue you've ever seen? Dance around your kitchen with a spoon singing along to Twist and Shout? When it's February, remind yourself that you're alive. Go out and twirl and whirl in your front yard until you're dizzy and fall down. Turn up your heat and prance around in your favorite shorts and t-shirt.
It isn't about Christmas. It isn't about Santa, the birth of the Christian savior, pine trees, snow, lights, decorations, parties, families getting together, reminding ourselves to give to other during this "special season". My bubbly boy never had Christmas or Santa until this year. They didn't celebrate it in an orphanage in Ethiopia. Their calendar isn't even the same as ours and Jesus, as far as we can tell, was born in the spring. Can you imagine what my sweet little bubbly boy is thinking? I can. Why would Santa think America is so important and no one else is? Why should he wait with held breath and anticipated expectations when he never did before? How, in his limited ability to converse in English, explain to Pretty Princess, to us or to his mom and dad, that he doesn't remember Santa ever visiting him or his friends. And how do we explain to him the reason why? Santa forgot? Santa was tired? Santa doesn't go places where poor people live? or maybe civil conflict is a little much for the reindeer to handle?
Bubbly Boy is excited, no doubt about that. But how much of that excitement comes from us? from commercialization, from the promise of toys? Lights everwhere, twinkling and sparkling? Bubbly Boy is also very smart. He understands that you're supposed to be good from this point on. Make no mistakes or all the pretty lights, a big jolly man dressed in red, a real tree cut just for his living room with baubles, flowers, ribbons and ornaments may mean nothing. This, we tell him, is when we should love one another and share all that we have. Take care of those less fortunate than ourselves. This is the time, right now. Don't wait. Don't hesitate. Once the tree comes down and Santa goes home, all the lights stop blinking, your opportunity has passed.
And we are, once again, people, ordinary, indifferent people, shuffling from one activity to another.
Maybe not what you wanted to read or hear on this special part of the year. I'd say I'm sorry but I'm not. See, I want my life to be this beautiful, twirly, twinkling, sparkly every day. I want to make special moments with my friends all year long. I want to be kind to my fellow brothers and sisters of this world in February, April, August, September.
I may just put up a tree in March, give someone a present, watch Charlie Brown Christmas and dance right along with Linus and Lucy in my kitchen. If bubbly boy asks me why "I do this", I'll say, "because I'm alive today and I can." Then I will grab him or Emma or Bonnie or Pretty Princess and we will dance in my kitchen together.