and then it was december 25th.
as soon as we find out we are pregnant, we put the tv out on the curb. wanting to have integrity about raising a child without one, we thought we should get rid of it before they even arrive.
but that year christmas shows up like a thief. we didn’t see it coming and manage to pull together a haphazard few days of celebrating. a conversation deep into the night shows us that we are used to being spoon fed the holiday through the screen of our television. we vow to tend the garden of the season next time around.
and it works.
we discover advent and prepare our hearts. we seek out christmas music that isn’t played in any mall anywhere. we dig through old cookie recipes and make the egg nog ourselves. we sit under the lights twinkling from the branches of our freshly cut tree.
weeks of sincere music fill the rooms of house, fill the ears of our daughter. we find our way to christmas without the help of advertising executives and we bow low remembering why we do all this in the first place.
but it’s a funny thing about human beings. no matter how true, how real, how good or how pure something is – we lose meaning.
we lose sincerity through repetition and the music and the tree with all of its handmade trimmings can harden and become as pretend as the music blared overhead at every walmart in every state in every town.
fast forward ten years and i’ve been turning on the christmas radio station for the kids in the van; complete with jingles and commercials and a really creepy sounding santa.
it seems only 29 songs were written and recorded for this time of year. endless remakes of the same theme, each voice sounding more and more produced. i just don’t have time to burn a disc of my own and i keep turning it on until slowly i start to hate even nat king cole’s voice. we watch ‘the santa clause 2’ on the television in our front room and i know the lines by heart. then one night at dinner joshua plays an obscure album he’s found for the season and it grates on my nerves.
“what is this?” i snap too quickly in front of all three of his children. he defends it briefly and turns it off.
it seems i’m the most insincere thing about christmas this year.
after the kids are asleep we sit by the light of the tree and of the fire and i apologize.
“i’m sorry that i spoke to you like that. i’m sorry i didn’t give your songs a chance. i feel like i’m not even excited about christmas this year. i’ve been playing that radio station and i can’t even enjoy christmas right now.”
he shakes his head, grins and forgives me.
“let me put together some music for you – it’ll be great. it will help.”
i have to laugh and i say yes.
yes, please help me.
help me before i lose all the meaning and throw the babe born in a manger out with the bath water. help me remember. help me sit too long by the fire with my bible and a mug of hot buttered rum. help me to hear a sincere voice ring out so that i don’t lose the plot this christmas.
i don’t want to write a story without a plot. i want to write because i hear the spirit and i pick up a pen like someone who sits down at their piano. i want to write a true story.
gratitude list ~ one thousand gifts ~ 1757 – 1770
a prepared place
showing her motion
standing up to bullies
mazzy on her best behavior