Tuesday, December 25, 2012

One Christmas

Begin at morning. Still dark, though not as dark as bedtime after the Christmas Eve services a few short hours ago. Warm bed to warm shower to hot coffee to cold car to toasty church. Music and love and laughter, laced with hope and a few drops of tears. 

Back to the chilly car. Cold and quiet house, still, still. Not a creature was stirring. Then came Christmas carols and bacon spattering. House warms, pancakes sizzle. Stirring commences, along with Christmas stockings. Our traditional pancake brunch with several new elements: mimosas and tears. And, yes, a wee bit of yelling. Holidays are hard. And good. And hard. Repeat ad nauseam. 

Christmas still carols on, through the talking and the tears. And the cleaning. Then comes the crinkle of unwrapping paper packages, concrete attempts at love. More presents than usual, even though you can't heal pain with Gap jeans and video games. And even a few pictures of presents, because we are human and make mistakes and sometimes that's the best we can do. 

There's still more to come. Quiet gazing at the lighted tree, gauzy with its soft starry lights. A little bit of a White Christmas walk, with a little bit of time for more friends and more presents. And always the strains of music, twining throughout, eclectic and sublime and absurd, depending on the algorhythms of computer chips. 

And more cleaning up. There is an awful lot of cleaning up in life, even on Christmas Day. Particularly on Christmas Day. 

A late and hearty English Christmas dinner--roast beast, no wassail. And definitely no figgy pudding! Bayberry candles burned to the nub for good luck. And there's still more to come. A funny movie and a grateful dive into my cozy flannel-sheeted bed. And so one Christmas Day will end, as dark and silently as it began. 

It was not perfect, not even close. People disappointed, presents failed to make us truly happy, even the snow didn't measure up to our ever-great expectations. But there were moments of comfort. And joy. 

Maybe those fleeting moments must be surrounded by sometimes spectacular and continuous imperfection. Maybe life's flaws and imperfections are required to reveal comfort and joy to our through-a-glass-darkly eyes. 

Or maybe this is just the way life is: a mostly mundane and occasional hot mess with momentary bursts of joy and pain. Quite the weather report. :-)  


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