Christmas has come and gone. It's amazing to me, really, how no holiday manages to pack more unbridled joy and colossal disappointment into a single 24-hour period as does Christmas. The trick, as always, is to try to remember the joy and forget the disappointment, which is no mean trick indeed since we puny humans are so gifted at clutching our disappointments and holding them close, as if they are the stuff of Linus's blanket. So instead of focusing on the fact that a lake-effect snowstorm at the exact moment when we were due to head out for our annual Christmas Eve candlelit church service forced us to turn back, or on the fact that circumstances beyond our control forced us to go without a tree this year and to postpone the exchange of gifts between the Wife and I until next week sometime -- a scenario which we managed to avoid even when I was unemployed -- I shall try to remember that most unique of Christmas joys, namely, the peal of a young child's voice as she realizes that the item beneath the wrapping paper is the one she feared she wouldn't get because she was too scared of the big guy in the red suit at The Store to tell him what she wanted.
Christmas. What a weird holiday. It's really the ultimate Burst of Weirdness, when you think about it. Here's a holiday that seems to drive people to high amounts of stress, but also leads them to express appreciation for those around them in ways that would really make the world a better place if we did that a little more often than just once a year. And here's a holiday where on an annual basis a giant amount of kvetching takes place on the proper way to celebrate it, so much so that this year it almost seems to have become a damned political issue. And the whole thing, on account of the birth of a baby, over two thousand years ago. Quite a baby, though.
Still, I look forward to Christmas 2005. Gotta get the kinks out of the system one of these years, you know.
PS: I wouldn't mind finding out someday just what sin I committed for which I am paying penance in the form of being bombarded with Care Bears stuff. Oy.