It finally happened. I am starting to feel excited about the Holiday. My brother and his family come over tonight and we have our big Family get together. Fresh bread, soups and a yummo Ham is on the menu. Last year we did Breakfast and I was a short-order cook for omelets and pancakes and waffles, but I can't do it this year, so we adjusted.
[Back story: my father died in about seven weeks in 2001 of pancreatic cancer. He was 51 when he died. He was diagnosed on the 24th of Jan and was dead by mid-March. It was very aggressive, brutal, and fast. Among other not so pleasant qualities...he was a workaholic--so he really felt out of place at home. Christmas was nearly always full of his impatience, yelling and threats & my mother's valiant attempt to make everything perfect. Not really something you looked forward to...despite presents and such...although my mom's cooking (like my great-grandmother Zilar-may she rest in peace) is a thing to behold. ]
Ever since he died, our Christmases are much more enjoyable and relaxing...I know it sounds kind of harsh, but my brother, mother and myself have enjoyed the holiday (although I know my mother still misses him--warts and all) much more fully since his death. We sort of made a pact after he died that we would not bring the ugliness of the past to the future with our new families. At that time, I was unmarried and childless, but my brother was happily married. We have kept our promise to one another and made sure that the Stress doesn't overcome us and turn us into screamers.
My brother and I are not typically religious in any way, but my mother is a devout Christian. This can cause some little tensions, but my brother and I try to respect her faith and traditions. When we are with our own families, we do our own traditions, such as they are....we go to Mass, we drink good whiskey after and we call it a day.
What has turned in me that has made my loathing turn to a bit of anticipation? Picking out gifts I know they will love. Hearing good Christmas songs. Eating lots of chocolate (this helps a variety of maladies). Good cheer from friends close and near and a love tunnel from TN to SC to all our extended family that live there.
Also, Dr. Who special on Christmas night and the Family Guy Christmas Special this year was all kinds of brilliant. I saved the Glee episode and just watched it yesterday...also excellent. So, I guess you could say all the parts of Christmas that I think matter have begun to melt my cynicism.
My wish for all of you is the same: May you be surrounded by love, laughter, good food & kindness toward the whole of humanity. And if Jesus dropped down onto planet Earth circa 2010--he wouldn't be in a Mall or freaking out about whether everything was perfect on the tree. What would he really be doing? He would be with the starving, the dying & the alone. If you claim Christianity as your religion--may you do more than is comfortable to provide comfort to the least of these--and not just for Christmas. Sermon is over now, pass the plate...