Saturday, December 24, 2011
the christmas post, take ii
It's Christmas Eve. I'm serious.
Last year, I posted this Christmas Post, and I just re-read it and it's awful. But it's who I was.
Here is a misconception that we've been trying to live by for a hundred years: Christmas is perfect. Christmas isn't perfect. It's commercialized and pulverized and slandered and most of all: turned to sacrilege.
I know about Christmas, guys. I know your fractured hand-holds climbing up the commercial face of Santa Claus and Christ alike, I know the anger you take out on your family: "I'm sorry", and the stockings filled with IVs of your own Type O+ blood because you couldn't think of any other way to say "I love you" besides proving just how gruesome you can be.
I know about Christmas. The same prayer on a thousand lips. The same songs on radio. The shine of it. The way that I could be here and you could be there but there's a phoneline and suddenly I love you and Christmas doesn't break over time zones or language barriers. The way it tastes sweet. And the biblical version, the original tinsel and electrical lights, the "Behold! I bring you tidings of great joy!" The long stretch of stairs before the tree. The waking up.
I've loved Christmas for almost eighteen years, but I don't love it unconditionally. I love it because it's been so good to me. Christmas has always had the softest hands. December itself has never been a real month, but one long countdown, a fifth season, a big inhalation and then Christmas Day: exhale. I like nativity scenes made of wood. I like wrapping paper. I like the smell of it. Even the cannibal consumer's version of Christmas---all price-tags and coupons and Overnight Shipping---is about giving, even in its crude, malnourished interpretation of the word: "giving". I like buying books for my mom.
Christmas has been, you know, altered. It's not what it was supposed to be, that day in the manger. It's not even what it was supposed to be sixty years ago and "Oh Melvin! A transistor radio of my very own! Gee whiz!" But even this gritty, twenty-first century version of Christmas is, honestly, gorgeous. It's... hopeful? It's hopeful. Bright.
And I think I finally got what I want this year, even though it's not going to be a kitten. You know?