Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas musings

I am of two minds about Christmas. The child part of me loves the memories of anticipation, the mystery and awe of the son of God turning up in a humble dirty stable, my solitary childhood visits to the barn on Christmas Eve contemplating the old story among the cud chewing cows. In those years, at the end of the 50's, Christmas did not beat us about the head and ears with constant advertising for this and that must have...what tv? The lumpy stocking at the end of the bed held the promise of tangerines and comic books to savor before the dawn. Before we were en masse emasculated by the forces of pc we cheerily and innocently wished each other Merry Christmas! We looked forward to that one special gift that stood out among the socks and mitts, a doll perhaps, or skates or a wooden toboggan. And as underwhelming as it was by todays standards, we were SO happy !
The adult part of me feels that Christmas has been hijacked and made tawdry and burdensome. I counter every rote Happy Holidays with a hearty Merry Christmas, feeling my preservation efforts to be a drop in the ocean. I avoid the malls as much as I can.
There is a nativity scene on our buffet that gives me the same quiet pleasure of recognition every year, as I unwrap each character from its crumpled newspaper. Each face is sculpted and painted to project calm and peace. Even the harried inkeeper has an expression that reads "Ahhh yes" ... In my travels to and from the kitchen the little grouping reminds me to slow down and savor their oasis of peace and serenity, and keep Christmas in my heart and home.


JulenaJo said...

Kathi, every year I struggle with those bad holiday vibes. It makes me sad that my children will never experience that pure joy that surrounded Christmas when I was a child. And yet the human spirit strives on, and people do seek sweetness in life in just the same way a newborn seeks its mother's milk. It's innate. Amazingly, even in these turbulent and over-the-top times, people are moved to reach out in kindness during the Christmas season like no other. To raise voices in song, to give, to worship, to hope, to love. It's boggling that even after 2000 years so much of the world still rejoices.

Gwen Buchanan said...

kathi, I don't celebrate Christmas in a big way.. at all... but your writing here almost made me cry!!! beautiful!!

and also Julena's comment ... so lovely.. Now I need a kleenex!!