Christmas is coming like a big, over-eager red and green puppy. It wriggles in earlier and earlier every year, and it speaks in uppercase letters: “NOEL!” or “JOY” or “HOMEFORCHRISTMAS.” It makes everyone around it speak in uppercase too: “TIME IS RUNNING OUT!” and “ORDER NOW FOR A BONUS” and “WE PICKED THESE DEALS JUST FOR YOU.”
Television movies turn mushy with curmudgeons finding true love, or the meaning of life. Ads aim for the tear ducts with returning war heroes, children snuggling up to lonely elderly neighbors, strangers reaching out to other strangers in friendship.
I am caught up in lists directing myself to pick up the perfect rib roast I’ve ordered before the butcher closes early, to select the serving dishes for the big meal, to get the ornaments down from the attic. I buy one more gift for someone hard to please. I give out holiday tips like I’ve won the lottery. I am too busy for joy.
Christmas comes bounding over and places its large paws on my legs and I can not resist its enthusiasm to go running alongside it with more busy-ness.
But even the most rambunctious creature must sleep and this is when I treasure Christmas.
In the soft carol that brings my mother back alive. In the slow sipping of the eggnog. In the first fierce hugs of family and friends returned for the holiday.
I am not religious, but the kitchen where my daughter makes her famous biscuits becomes my cathedral, and the silly laughter becomes my hymn.
The frantic pup sleeps and stretches and I remember why I love it.
I wish you all a sleeping Christmas.