Archive for December, 2017

The Day after Christmas

With each succeeding year, Christmas has become increasingly a pared down affair. Simplicity supplants tinsel, colored light bulbs, decorated trees, Santa Claus cookies, candy canes, and a house adorned with religious and secular gewgaws.  My dispensing altogether even with a table-top artificial Christmas tree stripped the last bit of material observance from this holy day or holiday, as you would have it, in my household, which on the day after, causes me to meditate why, at seventy years old, I have arrived at what could be called a “pretty pass.”

As I meditate upon Christmases past, I see the spirits of friends and family who have passed; among those who hover in the air are my parents, two brothers–one younger, one older–my daughter, an uncle, an aunt, a brother-in-law, and a lifetime friend. What seems to keep my contemporaries celebrating Christmas with the same degree of gusto they did in early adulthood is the presence of beaming grandchildren. My son and his wife have decided to remain childless, so this impetus to maintain family traditions does not motivate me to drag out the box of ornaments and string electric lights around the Douglas fir. Even if they had decided to have children, since they live a thousand miles away, their children could not be an integral part of my daily life.  Therefore, I am a slug, an utter pacifist when it comes to decking the halls with boughs of holly.

Is it because I’m old, jaded, the sway-backed nag tired with running through the same paces again and again? That could be a part of my disinterest. I can rationalize other reasons that contribute to my bare bones Christmas of recent years that consist largely of listening to carols and watching television Christmas programs. This season, I acknowledged the holiday by watching two favorite Christmas films, Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Story, a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  and concerts by Belmont College and Concordia College music students. These are my concessions to the season when the rest of the hustle and bustle, shopping, and eating have become meaningless. Even without the excuses of advancing age and loss of family members and friends, the commercialization of Christmas long ago tainted my enthusiasm for the usual customs of the holiday. For years I clung to attendance at midnight Mass to listen to the beautiful music and in the preparing and partaking in the big communal dinner. As my family shrank and I moved to an isolated area, even these observances lessened.  Despite these considerations, I have always preferred Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday.

For those who celebrate Christmas with unabated brio, I congratulate your enthusiasm. The world needs your merriment. Strike up the orchestra and let all the choirs of angels sing to herald in a better year than 2017. Truly, let the light of Christ’s message of love brighten up every facet of personal and national life in 2018.  With every Christmas we look with renewed faith, hope, and charity that the coming year will bring us closer to the peace that passes understanding.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all my blog readers!