Well, there are only a few spaces (two to be exact) left on the advent calendar, and the long-anticipated morning will be upon us…crushing us with joy and merriment. (The anticipation of a long winter’s nap is the only item on my wish list.)
Holidays can be so dang much fun, that often the boredom of January becomes quite alluring. Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m not Bah Humbugging the season, but there is just a little inherent stress pulling off the whole ho-ho-ho thing. And I confess that sometimes I’m tempted to cut corners…like not hanging stockings by the chimney with care, but hiding them in the attic to see if Santa can find them there.
Last week, our five-year old grandson, Carter, The Observant, looked at me in alarm. (This in and of itself is not that unusual, as many people often do the same thing!) But he said, “Grandma, your eyes are cracked!” I went to the mirror to see just what cracks he was referring to. (And I had my plastic surgeon’s number of permanent speed dial, just in case.) Staring back at me from the mirror were two startlingly bloodshot eyes. I mean, these eyes were not just cracked…they were shattered! We were both traumatized, but in an effort to reassure him that everything was OK, I said, “Oh, there’s nothing wrong, Carter…it’s just Christmas!” Carter became more alarmed than ever, and staring up at me with his lids so widely extended, they resembled cartoon eyes in the dark, he asked, “Grandma, are my eyes cracked?”
Well, needless to say, I went straight to the fridge, took out six cans of anything wet that was liberally laced with caffeine, and, after imbibing the entire contents of those (and watching every episode of the old “Andy Hardy” movies), I decided it was time to recalibrate just what we are trying to celebrate, and how the holidays should be observed. Cracked eyes are an integral part of the holidays. Now, I do not expect to look in the mirror and appear feloniously attractive, but when it requires daily triage and a tub of industrial strength mortician’s putty to make me socially presentable, and still I scare little children, I’m doing something wrong somewhere. Being recognizable, but awesomely unlovely as something I strive to achieve, I fear there is enough mounting evidence to convict me of spiritual dwarfism.
I do not think it necessary to be haunted by three ghosts during the night. (Obviously I’m the scariest thing in the house at present.) But I have given considerable thought (which has required inordinate pressure on my one firing neuron), and I have come to some conclusions. One can become a victim of progressive but imperceptible transformations that lead to a descent into the insipid and vacuous.
First of all, I think that it is possible for dense forest to obscure vision and intrude upon unobstructed views. Forests are deep, dark, musky and fragrant, and generally to be admired. But larger grandeurs can go unheeded as we are propelled through the overambitious celebrations inherent in the season. The gift of “second sight” is a spiritual and intuitive gift, often the result of trial or tribulation. It should not be rendered impotent by the tedious but irresistible.
Secondly, earthly success is not the criterion of merit, nor the measure of true greatness. Nor are acquisitions.
Finally, especially at this time of year, to accept the gift of this miraculous birth is to acknowledge the responsibility of giving something back. I intend to.
So for now, these are my holiday observations, which will influence my 22 top ten resolutions for 2009.
In the meantime, I am including a list of our favorite words of 2008, an idea I borrowed from Brodi: (I think they’ll make my “favs” list in ’09 also)
Survivor, Dr. Mulvihill, resect, fu-fu, NED (No Evidence of Disease) Whipple, Prayer Warrior, Clot, Gratitude, Zofran, “Pissy,” Family, Friends, Angels, Miracle, Love.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!