Monday, December 1, 2008

A Few Thoughts about Christmas Time

I emailed a friend in Canada the other day to get his postal code because I wanted to send him a Christmas card. He gave it to me, but with the understanding that he no longer sends out cards. Another good friend doesn't celebrate Christmas at all because of some really bad experiences in the past. A friend in Oregon flies to Hawaii every Christmas in order to doze in the sun and pretend it's a different time of year. For others it's just another day to catch up on work. According to others, the magic of Christmas disappeared when they found out there was no Santa Claus. More voices: "Christmas is just another over-commercialized holiday;" "Bah, humbug. Who wants to buy all those presents nobody needs or wants;" "Why are you making such a big deal about it. It's only another excuse to spend a lot of money." And on and on it goes.

It's hard to explain why I like Christmas so much. No, it's not the presents, although they're fun to get. It's no longer the children because all mine are grown up and living elsewhere. It's not Santa Claus because I personally know three of them. In Southern California it certainly isn't snow, although this year in Kansas I might see some before leaving. It's not shopping and spending a lot of money. In my little RV, it can't be decorating a large Christmas tree.

Those are many reasons for not enjoying Christmas, yet I do. I love getting together with friends, eating at restaurants, and seeing Christmas light displays. I love phone calls from old friends, from family members, and from people who used to be family members but aren't any more, at least in a legal sense. I enjoy writing an annual Christmas letter and sending cards. Buying small presents is fun, as is trying to find exactly the right gift for my son; this year I think I succeeded. And, if he's reading this, he still has absolutely no idea what that gift might be. It's a secret.

Today I made pumpkin cookies with raisins, pecans, and dates as well as pumpkin pudding. And there's still some pumpkin left for tomorrow. While mixing and baking, I listened to a Gregorian chant CD, one of my very favorite things to do during the Christmas season. My ex-husband called, as did my son, as did a very good friend whom I worked with in Kanab, Utah last year. I paid bills, worked on a ministry project for next year, meditated a little, took a long walk on the levee ("and the levee was dry"), and finished the Barbara Kingsolver book about a year of local food. I even wrapped some presents for daughters, granddaughter, and son. All in all, a very good day.

However, a few negative thoughts did intrude, as they do each year at this time. Sometimes I wonder why I continue to send presents to my daughters, mail them Christmas cards, and write email when they have refused to have anything to do with me for so many years. That hurts. But, I still hope that someday things will improve between us. My youngest once sent me a book entitled The Impossible Will Take Awhile, and I realize that's true. When that impossible happens, I want the door and my arms to be wide open and accepting, with no questions asked or explanations needed about the past. I want the love to always be there.

So, yes, I do celebrate Christmas and intend to do it as long as I can. I don't have to follow all the little rules and expectations of what Christmas should be as it's different for everyone. I appreciate the warmth and caring this time of year brings, and I rush to meet each Christmas morning with a huge grin on my face and all the expectations of a small child. No "bah, humbug" here.


Cedar ... said...

I'm so sorry about your daughters... I hope they eventually realize their mom is a neat person and appreciate you!

spiritualastronomer said...

Thank you, Cedar. There's always that hope.