Monday, December 24, 2007
So This Is Christmas
And what have you done?
Fed the hungry? Taken in the homeless? Given to the poor, cooled the brow of the ill, provided warmth to the cold and hope to the hopeless?
Yeah, me neither.
Here's what I have done:
Christmas Eve day and the feast for tonight is in progressive steps towards doneness. The venison for the tamales is in the crockpot and has been since last night. The sourdough is rising. The greens from the garden are simmering, as are a pot of pinto beans. The Moon Family Traditional Chicken Salad is resting in its bowl, ornamented with grapes and pecans, as always. The pecan pie and the lemon chess pie are cooling on the sideboard. Or what passes for a sideboard in my kitchen.
The presents are wrapped and under the tree with two fire grates set around them to discourage the yorkie from lifting his leg to annoint them. The creche is set up on the mantel with branches from the magnolia set around and behind it. Buddha is sitting right beside the baby Jesus in the creche, smiling his big Buddha smile which I translate to mean (this time of year anyway) "Hey Jesus! You're God too!"
The kids will all be coming out soon to feast and spend the night.
The husband is on his way home from hunting and going by the bank to get the kids' Christmas cash.
And I'm sitting here, writing this because...
A real true Christmas miracle found its way into my life yesterday when my permanent crown (that's the kind for my teeth, not my head) arrived at my dentist's office and he, perhaps wearied by my phone calls to him wailing about my temporary falling off, met me at the office last night, a Sunday night before Christmas, along with his wonderful and beautiful assistant, and put my gold crowns on my old teeth. I am not in pain, I can eat, and I have mouth jewelry.
As I was driving home last night from that visit, I looked up into the sky and there was the biggest silver moon I think I've ever seen.
Silver in the sky, gold in my mouth.
It was a moment.
And I have so much more than that to celebrate and I do and I will. Mostly it has to do with family, of course. I am more than blessed there.
Even though I am blessed with far more than most in every way, I still am not going to have one moment of what you'd call real Christmas joy, I can assure you. Not one. I realize that the spirit of Christmas is not in me.
But I'm taking what I've got, which is this feeling of utter gratefulness and contentment.
For me, that is more than enough.
And tonight I'll look up and that moon will be even fuller and more silver than it was last night and red Mars will be sitting right there beside it, riding high on the waves of lunar light.
I'll flash my gold smile and I'll think of all the ones I love and send them a wish of good tidings.
And if that's all I've got, it's more than enough.
I'll celebrate any baby born, Jesus too. His birth, like the birth of any healthy baby, is a moment to pause and give thanks and ponder the possibility of what a life can mean.
Ponder. I love that word. My favorite part of the New Testament's account of the birth of Jesus is Luke, Chapter 2, Verse 19, where it says,
And Mary took these things and she pondered them in her heart.
I'm pondering, as always, what all of this means- my life, all our lives, war and peace and greed and fear and suffering and death and joy and light and love and generosity.
I can't make any sense of it, and I doubt I ever will, but I continue to try. To ponder.
Merry Christmas, y'all. Look at the moon tonight and think whatever good thoughts you have and maybe, for a moment, the silver moon will look down on us in peace.