Thursday, December 22, 2011

Out of darkness, a little light

The debate with myself this morning involved whether or not to take these bleary-eyed photos of the dark underbelly of Christmas around here, exposing myself to ridicule, but then I decided --- what the heck.

Sadly, much of what you see stays out year-around --- and has to be dusted. But I’ve never seen the point of having stuff unless you can look at it.

This, however, is extreme --- too much concentrated in too small a place after having been spread over larger spaces for many years. My maternal grandparents keep watch over the clutter on top of the cherry bureau in the room where I write. Santa, the Buddha and the Holy Family get along just fine on top of what’s supposed to be a place to write in the living room.

A church has advantages. A more elaborate nativity set is spending the season there, as is a piano top full of candlesticks and an entire tree decorated with what won’t be in use --- eventually --- here. And there’s more, on tabletops, the refrigerator, elsewhere.

The Christmas-related items will go away after Epiphany. It’s all out this year because of a resolution to pull everything Christmas-related from boxes and take a look before repacking coherently. I may even get rid of a few things

Nearly everything Christmas-related here has a story --- about how and where it was acquired, who gave it to me, from whom I inherited it and the like. I like to think about that.

On the other hand, I’ve discovered in years when much of this stuff stayed packed away during December, that I didn’t miss it. None of it has any meaning in itself.

If clutter is a minor dark side to Christmas, there are a few others I’ve been thinking about, all more serious and all related --- like too many seasonal toys --- to too much invested in too few days.

No one is supposed to be sad, depressed, lonely, hungry, homeless or without a toy at Christmas. A lot of well-intentioned energy is focused on making the season as bright as possible for as many as possible. And that’s fine. But what about the rest of the year?

While it’s not OK if some of our neighbors are hungry or homeless, it’s perfectly alright too I think to be sad, perhaps depressed --- maybe feeling a little lonesome as Christmas nears. I’ve been thinking about friends in sad situations.

This is not, as some sing, the most wonderful time of the year. It’s just another time of the year --- with all the usual pitfalls and potential. And it’s OK to run away from it entirely, if that helps. A little “bah” and a little “humbug” can be useful things.

The seasons turned in an instant late last night and the days will begin to lengthen now, imperceptibly at first.

Christmas --- incarnation and redemption hitched to something similar but far more ancient --- isn’t a destination or a solution or a goal, it can be useful to remember. Just a place to light a candle called hope, then multiply that dim light by lighting other candles from it.


MK said...
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MK said...

Beautifully expressed. I'm thankful for your tender insight on this, and on so many other topics throughout the year. All good things to you in 2012.