And so, another Christmas draws to a close. Well, sort of. One of the many things I enjoy about being Catholic is that Christmas isn’t officially over at midnight on December 25. But, for most of the world, it seems the hustle and bustle of trying to get stuff done and baked and decorated and so on all leads up to today. And, once December 25 is over, it can feel like a bit of a let-down.
I’ve always rather liked this time after Christmas and before New Year. It feels as if the whole world has gone mad and all whirly around me as I struggle to meet impossible deadlines and my own equally impossible expectations. And then, the “big day” arrives. No matter how much I failed to accomplish, Christmas is always lovely and nice. It’s one of those holidays that are so much about feelings and the warmth and beauty of those around us. And love. So, so much love. Given all of that, what does it matter that I didn’t get the cards mailed out or that some of the packages will be late or that, maybe, the star on top of our tree tilts to the left a little bit too much? Because, in the end, it turns out that everything is perfect, just the way it is.
And then, once the gifts are open, the big meal is eaten, church is attended, praises are sung, candles are lit, toasts are made, things feel … different, somehow. I don’t know how to explain it, other than to say it feels as if my house breathes a big sigh of happiness and relief before it settles around us, hunkering down to shelter us for the coming days. There are still stories to tell and people to call and jokes and laughter and all of the good stuff to come. But it feels … gentler … softer, somehow. It’s a good feeling. Comfortable and kind.
Could it be the Ghosts of Christmas Past? Sometimes, I think, if I listen hard enough, I can just hear the echo of their laughter or a carol sung long ago. If so, I hope they come in to sit for a while and get warm. And maybe, leave with a smile and a promise to come again next year. Just for a bit.