Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas In A Minor Key

I loved Christmas growing up. Enjoyed learning to bake all the holiday recipes. The surprises and presents. The hope that the season represents.

Then I got married and we had four children. Even when there wasn't a lot of money, we got a big tree. Decorated the house. Made cookies by the double batch for weeks. Bought presents. Made it special. The house was loud, the kids jazzed up. My parents would come with a trunkload of stuff. We usually went to Midnight Mass and followed that with the chaos of Christmas morning. I have lots of pictures, this was taken on Kodachrome on some unknown Christmas in the '90s.

Even as they became adults, some or all of them would come home. I still put a tree, did some part of the traditions, let the holiday find it's balance. Remembered Christmases past.

November 2015 ended all that. As regular readers know, one of my sons took his own life. The others are scattered across the country and there is no desire to get together anymore. The decorations sit in boxes in the attic. The cookie cutters are on a top shelf in a Tupperware container with dust on the lid.

I bring this up to all of you to offer these thoughts.

The first is to tell you that if you are still engaged in full-on Christmas celebrations, love it, appreciate it, revel in it.

Second, remember you know, work with, and interact with people like me. People with losses that have forever altered their Christmases. You may know, you may not, but they have lost a child or a loved one, have someone who is in prison or struggling with addiction, are dealing with chronic illness, and so on. The season brings up memories that they carry like a weight on their best days.

And to finish this. On the shortest days of the year, in the darkness at the beginning of winter, we light the lights, gather together, share a festive meal, and for those who believe, we celebrate a new birth of hope in the world.


Glen Filthie said...

How are you holding up, ASM?

Christmas can be tough for guys like me - and I can just imagine how much tougher they are for you. For the first few Christmases I needed some time alone and I just went to the rod n' gun club on Xmas to get away from my thoughts and darkness. After a couple years things came around and now I sometimes go out with the wife, or we go and harass the other old geezers at church.

The magic's still there, ASM, it's just changed form. You'll find it again when it's time. God bless, eh?

AlexHenzel said...

I sense that you have let a spirit of those past Christmases, that were not good, take over for the Christmases that are here now. Do not let that spirit of gloom take over. That is what the devil would want. Bring together the family. Rejoice in what you have and rejoice in the past as well as today. Remember the wonderful times. Laugh and share. Wipe the despair and gloom from those past Christmases and rejoice in the wonderful family that you have and the joys and success that they are achieving. You will be surprised at how much this will lift your spirit. Let this season bring joy to your heart, not a remembrance of sadness. That is what God would want. Rejoice in today and rejoice for what has been. That is what makes and defines us.

Old NFO said...

Hang in there, sir. Know that we understand and respect your feelings.

ASM826 said...

Glen F., yes, I am doing okay and thank you for asking. This post is a reminder that many people have things to make the holidays hard and those things don't always show, as well a reminder for all of us to appreciate the good and the holy things in our lives.