Oh, my love
We live in troubled days
Oh, my friend
We have the strangest ways
All my friends
On this one day of days
Thank God it's Christmas
For a fifty-something Gen X agnostic lady, I love Christmas remarkably hard. It’s a childhood nostalgia thing, I suppose. I was an introverted little quirky-pants with a rich imagination and deep capacity for joy. Two weeks off from school to immerse myself in a twinkling-lighted wonderland of songs and cookies and stories with warm-n-cozy tropes, not to mention presents….I mean, my goodness. What’s not to love remarkably hard?
Christmas was when the cast list for the high school musical would be announced. Christmas was when the college crunch-time of finals and papers would suddenly just end and you’d get whisked home to soft beds, childhood pets, and free laundry. Christmas was holiday parties – candle-lit apartments, or corporate hotel ballrooms, or married couples’ mulled-cider beneath the Ikea tree, or shoulder-to-shoulder ironic Santa hats in beer-splattered bars.
Christmas was a deliriously joyful visit to my long-distance boyfriend in Seattle that turned into an apartment hunt through the drizzly streets of the post-grunge / pre-Amazon$$$ Capitol Hill neighborhood. Christmas was epic airplane journeys home to my parents’ Pennsylvania farm to curl up in one’s old bedroom and be a kid again. Christmas was the arrival of our baby grrrl and, a few years later, the miraculous healing of my beloved elderly cat. Christmas was…and is…a desperately welcome break from my relentlessly busy job.
And this year?
This year, my friends, I love it even more.
We need it even more. The ritual of celebration. The ritual of gathering – no wild dashes through crowded airports this year, no big families dinners, no vacations, no parties, but still…we gather. We speak to each other with intention. With deeper appreciation. Within this eerie context that the world as we know it kind of ended this year, and yet we all hang on, through space, through Zoom, through texts, through social media.
What an incredible testament to human connection, that we hang the heck on like we do, through changes we never would have imagined last year at this time. We literally can’t be “there” for each other. And yet. We are here for each other.
This is the first Christmas I’ve had in a while that bore so much uncertainty. Next year…will all our troubles be out of sight? A new president. A new vaccine. A renewed commitment to anti-racism. Living to fight another day, with no shortage of peril and injustice to fight against.
We’ll have to muddle through somehow.
So, have yourself a merry little Christmas now.