We're on the home stretch now,
tramping down the slick hill in the cold,
eager for the warmth that awaits us.
But stop, for just a moment,
and take in all that beauty.
Watch your breath as it eddies forth
in the chill air,
revel in the arch of trees,
bending under the weight of snow,
listen for the silence
that softens this blue world,
and then for the crunch of booted feet
as we set out again
on this, the final lap
of our journey
It's just another day, you think --
nothing special, a way to mark
the time between two major holidays,
a day to spend in the usual ways --
shopping, or cleaning, reading or eating
the gifts we have received...
But no, each day is special: an opportunity
to learn what needs to be learned,
to give what needs to be given,
to love what needs our love...
Listen! As the year speeds toward its finish line,
what is it that needs the attention
that only you can give?
In this season, when there's
so much to be grateful for,
how do we also honor our disappointments?
The job, promotion, or raise we didn't get,
the contest we didn't win,
the marriage that didn't last,
the child that didn't live,
the persistent wounds
that never seem to heal...
We sit here,
up to our necks in gifts and sorrows
those timeless figures in the creche --
what do they have to teach us
about holding in our hearts
both joy and sadness?
Though it's meant to be
the Season of Love,
I've noticed people get
a little prickly this time of year --
all those to-do lists,
and the crowds,
and the expectations
of unmet expectations.
Let's make a pact
to rise above
those prickly irritations
and let the Christmas spirit bloom
in spite of it all...
No, I'm not ready for Christmas -- though we did get the lights up and the decoration boxes down from the garage, and I finished designing the annual family calendar. But the shopping has barely begun, we don't have a tree, and we've been frankly too busy dealing with the weather to get in the Christmas mood.
... but that doesn't mean we're not aware: this season comes with a lot of expectations for stuff lots of people find either hokey or ridiculous -- I mean, face it, there's not an aspect of Christmas that hasn't been somehow overdone or commercialized.
But that doesn't mean there isn't some important truth lying underneath, some deeper awareness that things are supposed to be a little different this time of year. Whether we fail or succeed, we get that we're supposed to be a little nicer, a little gentler, a little more generous, a little more forgiving when Christmas rolls around.
And we get that that's hard, and that actually Christmas, the whole holiday thing, is hard, for an awful lot of people. So many expectations and hopes, so many past disappointments, so many losses to be borne anew as the memories come rolling in...
So, yes. It's not really about Santa -- whether you see him as a jolly generous old elf or the personification of consumerism. But I'm posting him here anyway, because I like this version of him, like the twinkle in his eye, the sense of a shared joke just underneath the surface. He gets, I think, that this Christmas mood thing we're trying to get into is all a game, but he wants it to be fun, and deep down I think he knows we're each a little better and more cheerful for trying to join into the spirit of things.
and now the leaves are off the trees, we see that we are locked
in the same old patterns, harnessing our energy
to win some pointless race forgetting that winning
never sets us free. It's always someone else
that walks off with that cup while we are still fenced in -- or locked into a stall of our own creation...
Come light. Come hope, come love: open the gate and set us free.