I had a blue Christmas without you

Advent wreath
I felt more than a bit empty around Christmas this year. For the first time it seemed completely devoid of meaning. No one believes in God. No one believes in Santa. There’s nothing particularly thrilling to give or get. There’s just an obligation to pour money into the pockets of corporate pricks and fill our houses with crap none of us needs, or even really wants.

I remember Christmas as magical. But, as I reflect on my childhood, the magic of the holiday was closely tied to religious ritual. Coming into church on a Sunday soon after Thanksgiving, back when Christmas lights didn’t begin showing up by Halloween and could still be cause for celebration, we’d find the Advent wreath suspended from the rafters. Oh, yes! Christmas is coming! The three purple candles, a pink one for the third Sunday of Advent, a white candle for Christmas Eve. Each candle with its own story and symbolic meaning.

The beautiful haunting Christmas carols. O Come O Come, Emmanuel was my favorite. It still gives me goosebumps. The nativity display. The Christmas story with its shepherds and wise men and camels and bright stars and inns and stables and mangers and gold, frankincense and myrrh. Oh my! I just loved it all.

My poor darling children have none of this, thanks to me. I, like many of my generation, have largely rejected organized religion. Unfortunately, I now understand hypocrisy and oppression and believe that the church is guilty of all the sins it forbids. But what do we do about our spiritual longings? How do we find meaning and impart that meaning to our children who are daily bombarded with despicable messages from our commercialized world? For meaning surely does exist.

I am at a loss when it comes to recreating Christmas magic without a little baby Jesus to help me. And I can’t just pull him out of a box in the attic and blow the dust off of him so he can lay in his manger Christmas morning. My parents did this, and it was okay, because we knew all about him, every day of every year, so it didn’t smack of phoniness like it does when I try to bring him into the Christmas mix.

I have no answers. My children sense my sadness around Christmas, and they know it has something to do with religion. But it doesn’t really. It has to do with meaning, significance, all things lofty and sublime. It has to do with my remembered feelings of joy and sheer awe at the birth of the Savior. It’s the Christmas spirit that, without a miracle, my children will never know.

1 thought on “I had a blue Christmas without you

  1. Well written and quite touching.

    Marie, on the flipside of feeling religious hypocrisy (I know that’s a bad paraphrase, sorry) – having faith makes Santa look diminished and breeds the common holiday gripe about commercialism – which really is a downer too. Recall Southpark’s legendary demo video (that started the show)? Santa versus Jesus fights. LMAO.

    Somewhere between the secular and the faith is the balance of Christmas that my parents raised me upon. My guess, you too. Yes, it included mangers – but it also included celebrities schmaltzing drunken laughables, corny satires in pop markets and cartoon, Scrooge beating up Tim, and a big debate by NORAD tracking a secular sleigh (and not tacking the Second Coming as seems of late).

    Warning: Thomas Nash’s Santa was drawn by an anti-intellectual simpleton and Mother Goose is a hypocritical moralizer.

    My point is – adulthood oft forgets how to be blindly in love with imagination or for that matter how to be blindly in love with anything! The miracle of the manger repeats throughout the year IF you are of THAT faith. Outside of specific religions, the miracle of faith repeats through action and belief, including imagination’s hope.

    I don’t care if it is Harry Potter or Jacob’s Ladder – whatever breeds optimism (without judgment) is easily lost upon most killjoys and reality cynics. It’s vital to keep hope alive. Suicide to destroy it.

    I’m not surprised that recent Southpark episodes addressed the attack on imagination as a civil war of the soul. I’ve pulled my own art several times from public view knowing profilers love to distort simple works as well as the complex. My website opens and closes like a desert bloom. It’s not 24/7 in neon. A smiley face is as unsafe as a Salman Rushdie work in this age of “counter-interpretation”.

    Even Charles Schultz, creator of Peanuts cartoon strip, has now been revealed a depressive git, portrayed as acting out a psychic battle of inner conflict in cartoon resononic echos. Roll over Snoopy, you are the material of Helter Skelter… and the age of silence is not only en vogue – but ALMOST wise during our new communicational scourge. The internet would have been a nice place to meet people – except well… common sense is a gag order, with a side of fries.

    This is a good time to thank/note the new NMT linked reference to Irrepressible Project – brought to us by our friends at Amnesty International. Plugged herein as well.

    Self-discipline often takes shape in restraint. That’s a guiding norm per adulthood. My mom, who did not lament, said her era was the end of freedom. I refuted. Every era feels that way as awareness matures to realize the needs of others with compliance and empathy. Unfortunately others use fear as reason for censorship and prefer to believe, if not keep, the world flat.

    Thank God a few of us still know where the gravel roads are and where it’s safe to fly our rockets! I’m sure you do too. And someday – we’ll have to share a cup of coffee and a few tall tales. Paul Bunyon’s axe never dulls. Hone sweet hone.

    Marie: Peace and Love. You have wit and imagination and action. All are grace. That’s your manger – and your children will be ok therein. Save the chills for Halloween where the headless horseman’s trail is clear to follow to Ichabod, and treat goes with trick. And thanks for all the head candy as well!

    Merry belated – and happy new one – to you and family.

    See you at Valentines when it’s time to ground Cupid’s zeppelin-like chub. I’ll bring the arrows. Pointless??

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