I’m grateful for solstice this year. Very grateful in fact, because I’m having a hard time with Christmas this season. This is difficult for me because I am a Christmas aficionado. I am a creative gift giver, a singer of carols, a trimmer of trees and a holiday party party-er. This year, not so much. A lot of it has to do with divorce. I’m sure anyone who’s been through it can echo my anger, grief, loss, sadness and general feeling of being unmoored and ungrounded. Understand that I wanted this divorce, but that doesn’t make any of it any easier. I’ve been through the first negotiation of where, when and how holidays will be spent with my 16 year old son, and what the arrangements will be for Thanksgiving and now Christmas in terms of how he’ll by spending time with me and my family and his mom and hers. I treasure the resulting time I am spending with my son, but let’s face it – this year I am one of those people who become the basis for the stories of made for TV Christmas movies. You know, the somber, hurt, exhausted but golden-hearted soul who just can’t muster an once of Christmas spirit and is either fighting the cynicism of the season or who has given into it.
I am living in temporary quarters while I serve an interim ministry. Most of my belongings are in another state awaiting my return. My parents are both not well. My dad has alzheimers and my mom just had major surgery. My finances are a mess due to the divorce. And then there was the evil and let’s name it what it is, the just plain evil of the slaughter of innocents in Newtown, CT a week ago. Where I am there hasn’t been and won’t be any decorating of the house with holiday adornments. There won’t be a tree. There won’t be stocking hung with care or even with indifference. I can’t muster the energy required for humbug or even for Festivus.
The most wonderful time of the year? Hardly. And even if, in the world around me, it may be beginning to look a lot like Christmas, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. Now the end of the world and Mayan prophecies? That’s entirely different. This is a year such doomsday scenarios feel like they fit my overall mood and situation. The world isn’t literally going to come to an end, and I don’t expect it to in the few hours left to December 21, 2012, yet a lot of my world has come to an end this year and so the end of the world vibe is apt. Having ended a marriage has felt like the end of a world, if not the world.
At heart, I crave the peace and joy and love and hope the Christmas season and the Christmas story offer. Just not this year. This year I need something else from the season. I’m more than ready for the days to get longer again; more than ready to have more light; more than ready to welcome the return of the sun and warmth and hope and look toward spring. I need the renewal, the restoration, yes let me say it – the resurrection that comes with spring. There are whispers of light and hushed promises of renewal. I feel them already like the smallest of breezes on a calm still day. Not strong enough to be visible moving the leaves on the trees, the spirit moves almost imperceptibly, but moves it does. I know it in my soul as much as feel it on my skin.
And with that hope, I pass this shortest day and this longest night. I muster something inside myself to welcome the yuletide, and brace for Christmas. This year, the fact that the season points to spring generates all the joy I can find in it.
This year I don’t need the return of a savior and I don’t need presents and I don’t need kings and shepherds. This year the end of darkness and the return of the light will be more than enough, it will be everything.