It’s Christmas. This is a time of year when believing…in something…feels essential. I love going to church, candles in hand, and singing Silent Night. I loved it as a little girl, and now, even not quite completely believing in the story, or anyway in all that has come along after and with it….I love it still.
And Santa, well in him I believe. I told my kids as they got older and began to wonder, that Santa lives in each of our hearts and is the spirit of Christmas. This may be a little bit pagan, but somehow for me his spirit is just as real as the little babe in that far away manger. The differences in their stories seem less important to me than their similarities. Each offers a tale of redemption. They both inspire us to be better to each other, to love, to imagine, and to warm ourselves by the fire in our hearth and with our chosen family. Sometimes we choose the ones we came in with and sometimes we choose the ones that came after. I learned a long time ago that you get two chances at family. As little children we don’t have much choice in how it all works out. But, this is my second go around with the whole mother child bond and I was determined that this time it would be happy and whole. And by golly it has been. This time I got the lucky hang of happiness.
And now with these people I choose, we believe…We believe for instance in the goodness of butter and sugar. With sticky hands we open presents, and make cups of tea and coffee. We snuggle under blankets and listen as the Vince Guaraldi Trio makes us want to dance like Linus and Lucy did in front of the tree. And our wonderful pagan tree, we got married under it some sixteen years ago. We believe in the healing and happy power of its light and color, it’s sparkle and shine; we believe.
We roll dough and eat handfuls of it, and eventually a few cookies get baked. We play silly games, and argue and joust over the results, and on Christmas Eve we eat in fancy restaurants and toast this little family of ours. This is the stuff of happiness, chocolate chips, fizzy drinks, marshmallow cream, and red sprinkles. Perhaps all this goo binds us together in a way that just being related never could.
A sweet friend of my daughter’s said that Christmas only makes her sad. She said it is just for happy families and that it makes everyone else miserable. But there is a secret, eventually you get to pick for yourself on which side you will be. And thanks to these sticky, sweet, bawdy, funny, loud, rambunctious people I chose, Christmas is my favorite time of year. I believe….and believing is essential.