Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My Own Mystery of Christmas

I realize after the day is over how much a hold this holiday has over me (and everybody else). I'm sure that part of it is being born into a Christian tradition, and habitually celebrating it. Of course, the attention paid to Christmas for the last two months is relentless. You can't escape it.

But there is a deeper kind of meaning and yearing that I don't let go. Ron and I don't celebrate the holiday very much. He's Jewish. Neither of us are religious or traditional believers. Still, the holiday has an attraction and a comfort for me.

I enjoy being on the outside of the holiday. I don't have to be caught up in the gift-giving or the flurry of the holiday. Admittedly, I do send out my annual holiday letter, and I do prepare small gifts for people, but we don't get seized by the season. It magically creeps up on me. I love the lights and decorations, particularly on the dark, dreary nights. I enjoy the tastes and smells of seasonal foods, and I love to prepare those foods.

But it's the fellowship I really treasure. In the darkest days of the year, I gather with my family in drinking, eating, retelling stories, and fitting comfortably into a place and a state of mind that is nourishing, fruitful, and abundant. That's the gift-giving that delights me: the nourishing, life-giving smiles, hugs, and kisses of the people I love.

I am grateful for an opportunity to celebrate their affection and their love, and I hope that I reflect that out to the other people I touch during this season, a dark time of year, but so ripe with light and hope.