Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

I'm not one for religious exclusionary-ism, but I have a soft spot for the term Merry Christmas. And I mean that in the most simple and old-timey ways, when saying it was like a personal, sincere wish for all blessings to gush down on the listener's head. Like, an earnest Merry Christmas was a present wrapped in gold-leaf with a maroon velvet bow and the receiver's heart melted and humanity was restored. Man, the simplicity of Christmas moves me; that melancholy warmth -- what is that, that thing that intensifies in a darkened room pulsing with the multi-colored glow of lonely lights. It's the reflection of Christmas that gets me, the slowing and the thinking.

My mother was very susceptible to the holiday blues. It's understandable, really, especially for her, but I fought that even when our Christmases were the most spare and grim and she had fallen below the surface, unable to claw back up. I couldn't raise her up either. We have always been so disconnected, which is extraordinarily regrettable since it was just the two of us. So, I fought this particular brand of blues; even overfought if for years, which is an empty way of dealing. Eventually I found a place right atop the surface; between the cheer and the blues. I realize that ache is not necessarily painful, nor does it have to act as an anchor around my neck, but it is simply reflection. I think we also feel a collective opening of the human spirit, more so than usual, and this gives off a universal feeling of vulnerability. We unwillingly mirror the collective vulnerability and that connection seems too much, so unknown. I know it's good. I do.

But part of the sadness, I think, is caused by an instinct to shirk this raw motion toward kindness. We want it organically, but maybe we're too out of practice. Or maybe we succumb to it happily during the holidays and then we feel disenchanted if we've convinced ourselves that the feeling is fleeting, temporary. Back to the bustle, folks.

I love to drive around at night and look at the Christmas trees in windows. The very small, lopsided ones placed in apartment windows pang at me the most. A struggled gesture to be part of the spirit; to raise their own spirit possibly. I look way too much into these things, but that's why I love to drive around and speculate. Mostly, I just suck it in, the care taken, the prettiness; that damn, sad warmth. It turns me over inside.

I believe in miracles. Maybe not in the most literal sense, but isn't it all a miracle if you get right down to it? And I'm sucker for a Christmas miracle story. The words Christmas miracle kinda choke me up. I'll watch all movies built around the predictable Christmas miracle. Feed it to me with a spoon. I love it. My kids are too old to be in holiday plays now or sing in the little pageants, but wow, would those kill me. Once Maya was in a pageant at her old, beautifully eclectic and creative school and she sang, with other five year old voices, Iz's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. They signed the words with their hands as they sang so heartbreakingly pure. And it took every single fiber of me not to wail loudly during the performance. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. They were tapped into something beyond our recognition. I'm teared up thinking about it. That song was a miracle. Those kids rained down something perfect on us that moved us in ways we were not even aware of.

That song is like Christmas; an intense version maybe. It's so sweet, it hurts. It's hopeful, but possibly unrealistic. It's ideal and what does ideal have to do with reality? Unless you believe in miracles.

Merry Christmas, and I mean that in the way where a torrent of blessings is dumped on your head and the warmth is overwhelming in a soul-clearing kind of way and the beyond-the-woods clarity of the universal thread motors your boat and brings you the best of things like love and acceptance and more love and peace and kindness. Cheers to the vulnerability, man.

10 comments:

Melinda said...

Love you.

jagosaurus said...

<3

The Christmas lights turn me over inside too.

Kris B. said...

Thank you. This was exactly what I needed right now.

madness rivera said...

I love you too.

Marigoldie said...

I took my mother to church last night. We lit candles in a gradually darkening room and sang Silent Night as we filed out... I thought of my childhood friend Amanda (whose dad was two pews ahead of us), who's never had a boyfriend but just adopted an infant girl... I watched a couple of women I knew helping their frail, elderly mothers up to the altar for communion and a prayer... I sat at my parents' kitchen table in their oddly quiet house, eating leftovers with them, and my dad rose to play piano for me, which he never does because he's shy and embarrassed. He played Stardust, After You're Gone and a couple bars of Lullabye of Birdland on request... Christmas miracles, all of these things. I was slowly pulled out of my traditional holiday despair.

"Shine, O Light, in the darkness of our world." That line, in the church bulletin, about did me in.

Love y'all.

madness rivera said...

Yess.

Madame One Tree said...

I was thinking, while reading your words... and trying to remember if I had ever had a truly joyous Christmas ever. Not even in childhood due to the negative dynamic that was my father. Not as a married woman again the negativity of an abusive husband, and up to now... the never knowing.

I have felt the pang of wanting, of yearning to be one of the ones that gathered with family and sang songs and held hands and roasted chestnuts on the open fire, and walked in white woods with someone I love and who loved me.
Your writing has moved me to that poignant pang of wanting.. Not ever having had it, I wish it for all. The blessings, the joy, everything..all.

madness rivera said...

Madame, that touched me a lot.

lagata said...

Awww - thank you :o)

I love Christmas, it was just that much more special this year to have my sister close...

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