For days, I have thought about this blog. Words appear in the box, and quickly delete for one of two reasons…too much syrup or rock hard cynicism. Admittedly, I love the syrup— the Norman Rockwell/ Currier & Ives ride to Grandma’s house. Teaching years spent with children taught me that delight is the key. Paper bag turkeys and cotton ball Santa beards stayed as fresh as anticipation on a five-year old face.
Despite our differences, the family gathered to celebrate our common history. We learned to avoid the topics that pushed away from conversation to the brink of argument. The adage about religion and politics in this era of anger and entitlement is usually honored. At times, the joy might seem forced a bit but the effort was there. Civility and the hope of a connecting (or reconnecting) were part of our thankfulness.
Cynicism has come late in life and I still balk when the evidence is there.
Before Halloween, stores were decorating for Christmas supposedly celebrating an important holiday. Thanksgiving doesn’t get much in the way of public decoration or retail acknowledgement. Wonder if that could be that we don’t really honor gratitude? Could it be that money spent on gifts isn’t part of the Thanksgiving deal? And if the so-called Christmas spirit of giving comes early enough, we spend more.
I know. The economy needs our money. If we spend, we circulate the dollar so recovery happens. Stimulus, right? Bonus time. Fine, if the money stays low—down where the job seekers, the hungry and the employed but uninsured live. Down where homes and cars and businesses are foreclosed because we bought the bubble. Trickle down? The pool at the bottom looks dry.
Cynicism? Maybe. Reality check? I hope so. Once upon a time, Christmas was one of the world’s religious celebrations honoring a particular tradition of beliefs. Once upon a time, Christmas had to do with a celebration of the connections in a community of believers. Once upon a time, the symbol of the stable held some sway over mounds of gifts under the tree.
All that being said, I love Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas—most of all Christmas. I love being part of a faith community that shares tradition. I love the twinkle of a single string of porch lights, a Charlie Brown tree in the living room, cinnamon in the air, the delight in grandchildren, the gentle civility and graciousness of adult children. Syrup trumps again.