It’s a new Christmas here. For years, I spent Christmas at my in-laws, did the “Santa” thing at home with the kids the next day, went to church and hopped into the car for a trip to my dad’s in Greensboro. We’d go and have cocktails, eat dinner, tear into the gifts with all the nephews and nieces and chat with AMR and Uncle Carl. And every year since the kids were little, I’d complain about having to make that trip. Two years ago after dad’s passing, I stayed so busy I didn’t take a moment to let it in. This year, it is here in full force – the Ghost of Christmas Past swirls about my kitchen and shouts at me to “Snap out of it for heaven’s sake!” The Ghost of Christmas Present is jingling about singing that it’s time for a new tradition: “Hooray – all you’ve wanted for all these years! You’re very OWN Christmas”. The Ghost of Christmas yet to come looks at me silently and shrugs.
He pisses me off.
So I turn on some music, pour a glass of wine, boil the potatoes and blog my way through this gray day of transition. I miss my brothers and sisters. My children seem disappointed in their gifts. But this is all melancholy; it is not how Christmas is intended. I hear Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come chuckle. The bastard.
My resolve returns. I decide I will not be pressured or intimidated by the secular nature of the season. The gifts, the lights and the food will not be the center of this day. I will light the white candle of my advent wreath and enjoy the ham my husband has labored over today. Baby Jesus is in His manger on the hearth. I imagine He purses his tiny mouth and blows a comforting breath through my kitchen dispelling the three trouble-causing spirits and filling my home with the Holy Spirit. A new Christmas is beginning as I let go of what once was. My fingers seem stiff and unyielding, but they will bend in time. As the gentle and holy breeze washes over me, they will relax and I will move blithely forward. The gray day will roll away.
Next year I will decorate, sing, and spread much cheer. Not all Christmases will be as those I imagine to be in my future. Some holidays will be like this year, which hosts “The Ghost of Christmas Transition.” Luckily it’s not a permanent condition. I chuckle and shrug back at Christmas Yet to Come.