I have been a bit down the past few days, so I thought it might be a good time to write about Christmas. I love Christmas, and when I am cheerful, I'm afraid my Christmas love is super annoying to my many cool, brilliant, and lovable friends who passionately loathe this time of year.
But the way to Christmas happiness is through blackness, as anyone who's ever read or watched a Christmas story knows. Scrooge doesn't go straight from cranky selfish bastard to jolly flinger-of-coins-out-windows without passing through the sobbing, begging part. Jimmy Stewart has to plunge into the ice-cold waters of suicidal despair before the corny angel gets his wings.
It's the whole point of this old solstice festival, that however black things are, however long the night is, the light comes back again. Christianity for all its (considerable) faults found a gorgeous container for that light in a newborn baby, which might be one reason their story has stuck so well.
Last year was the first Christmas after my mother died, and I was kind of a wreck for most of December. But I came out the other side of it, when my husband and I got back to our house Christmas Day, feeling vulnerable and broken-open to the crazy amount of love around me. It was a radiant day.
None of these thoughts hasn't been said a bilion times before, I know. But that's sort of the point of holidays, coming back around the year to remember something true: oh yeah, oh yeah. This time of year comes to remind me: you don't drown. Something new is born. The light comes back.