I don’t really hate Christmas. Although I think I already said that it’s not Christmas I hate, just the gross commercialized culture of excess and frenzy that comes with it these days.
So, it happened again to me this year. The annual miracle of the Christmas spirit. Right on schedule, the morning of December 24. I had no more gifts to buy, but some left to wrap. And errands to run.
I cranked up some favorite Christmas music. My favorites change a little. This year the most played Christmas song on my iPod is this one:
Followed by “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” featured below.
With the music going, I felt my old cold grinchy heart start to warm and melt. Sang along to the iPod, practiced singing harmony to “Silent Night.”
Hopped into the car, with iPod music blasting, practically danced around Costco. Sang to the checkout staff and thanked them for working Christmas Eve. They must be trained to deal with crazy people; they were unfazed.
Was it me? Or were most people I saw in Costco on Christmas Eve *not* all stressing out this year?
Home again, had fun wrapping the presents, all for the little kids in the family. Was sure I wouldn’t make it in time to join the family at church, even called to say so. Figured as I headed out for their part of town that I’d hope to find a coffee shop nearby open, to sip and read for a while till they could get home and let me in. But the magic of Christmas slipped the old Subaru right down the freeways and into the church parking lot to a space across from the family’s van, and ushered me into the church two minutes before the service started. Everybody squished down and made room for me in the row.
So I got to have my annual misty-eyed Christmas Eve service experience at their church, which really piles it on and surpassed itself this year. I think the only thing left is to actually bring in live animals for the manger scene, so I wouldn’t miss next year’s service for the world. Despite the lingering cough from my recent sickness I sang pretty well, and cried during the final candle-lighting in the darkened church. And managed not to splash candle wax around when I blew out my candle afterward.
Nice eats and gift exchange back at the cousins’ after church. Four little kids, two sets of young parents, their grandparents on their dads’ side, two great-grandparents, and assorted loose cannon cousins. Including moi. So many gifts that expressed the love and involvement all these people have in each others’ lives, along with lots of giggles, laughs and squeals among the wrapping-ripping. Some of which was from the kids. A toy horse was the gift of the night for one of the girls, a toy rifle for one of the boys.
After the gifts, the electric Christmas tree lights were turned off, room lights doused, and the little candles in heirloom German silver holders on the tree branches were lit, for all of us to enjoy for a few minutes. That’s what trees looked like way back when.
Christmas day, after Jasper got a nice walk, I worked a morning shift as a volunteer hospitality ambassador at the airport. Lots of family reunions, Santa hats, people with antler headbands, hugs, smiles, even people thanking me for being there. Basically as a talking directional sign – yesterday I was mostly at the spot where people ask directions to their baggage claim carousels. There being 19 of them, I don’t have every single bit of info memorized but fortunately it’s not too hard to steer them the right way. And they give us a cheat sheet too.
Then it was home again, to rest my feet for a while. Then back out to the cousins’ for a nice dinner with most of the family. A quiet time to chat and laugh with the people who’ve known me all my life, or whom I’ve known all their lives, as the case may be. And they put up with me anyway. Bless them.
Long live Christmas. I hope you all had some miracles too, especially the miracles of comfort and joy.