A little while back, Bobby G was disappointed in me that I didn't respond to a list of his favorite Christmas things with some of my own. I pled "not feeling it" at the time and mused it would make a nice post for later. And it might- I'm not convinced that it would make a nice post FROM ME.
A lot of reasons for that, not just "I'm not a kid and don't get neat toys anymore."
Prolly the biggest, as we turn on the confessional light, is the Christmases I was able to GIVE. After the divorce, I was scraping by on Arden Companies pay. (You can look up Arden on Google Mexico under "entry level sweat shop".) Now that's ALL my fault. For a variety of reasons best left dead. But because of this blame, the kids had some pretty barren Christmas pickings, including one year that our Church at the time pitched in to get them SOME presents when I couldn't. There are a lot of moments in my life that, no matter how I try, I can't forgive myself for, and that's a big one.
But life went on, and Christmas began to make a reappearance for me. And new traditions were built. One of them was (being a former Catholic) watching Midnight Mass at the Cathedral on TV. The late Bishop John D'Arcy was a "Christian across borders" to me; when he retired, though, Incoming Bishop Kevin Rhodes apparently didn't see the point of it, and the TV broadcast was gone. Now you're lucky if the local Catholic radio station plays it, luckier yet if you can actually tune their little station in.
But the biggest reason? It's just not what it USED to be. Our family doesn't get together- they just get together with "their family". Not like when Mom and dad were still alive. Imagine that, times change.
Well, times change again this year- Our kids are hosting the party, which means a whole lot of "new family", and that's a real good thing. Presents for the kids (I have instructed EVERYONE to get me nothing, I'm just getting for the kids), new people to bond with- I'm actually looking foreward to it. But real Christmas spirit? I don't know that I can do that.
Christmas spirit was a month of doing carols an hymns in school. I don't know if they let you sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer anymore.
It was the little bell shaped ornament I always loved the most. It's prolly been broken glass for more than half my life now.
It was A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty The Snowman, the Grinch, and Rudolph. Though I didn't realize it until I started typing this, I think what has gone before has made it so I can't even watch them anymore.
It was Midnight Mass at St Louis Besancon, with the smell of incense, the hymns and bells, and let's not forget being half-buzzed because you just left a family Christmas party and being packed like sardines in the sacristy because you got there at 11:59:30 and it was SRO. Okay, well I really just miss the incense and hymns.
It was recently listening to Bishop D'Arcy's "during communion" taped message that always touched your heart. That man was a saint in every definition and I miss him more than I can say.
So now, starting this year, it will have to become something else. It will have to be something that climbs over the guilt, past the baggage, the bells that no longer ring and TVs that no longer play. And it WILL do that. It will knock on my door. I just pray that I will have the willingness to climb over the guilt, baggage, broken bells, etc, and OPEN the door.
And then maybe, it will be CHRISTMAS again.