Friday, December 26, 2014


This is not the post I expected to be publishing next.  In fact, I’ve had an article stowed in a folder for more than a week.  It was patient at first, confident, it seemed, in the message it had to communicate.  Lately, however, over the last few days, that draft post has become more vocal, calling me while I am packaging gifts, preparing food, practicing the harp, organzing the music for the Christmas Eve mass, cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry.  I haven’t ignored its insistent reminders.  Like the patient and regular pulse of the bright yellow flashing lights  around a construction zone, I know it’s there.  Life, however, has intervened. In the ultimate irony, that intervention, more than the unremitting jobs, has ensured that the holding pattern around that post will remain, at least for a day or two.

During that entire time, I was about to write when . . .
the husband of Elmer’s cousin passed away.  Of course, we would attend the prayers and the funeral, to celebrate a life and support the family.

I was about to write when . . .
a friend reminded me of a two-year old Christmas tradition.  On the day our son arrives from California, we meet her and her husband for supper, and then head to the airport.  Did we have plans to meet again this year?  The fight was landing in the afternoon; maybe lunch?  Of course, the tradition had to continue.

I was about to write when . . .
friends came for supper, a no fuss  homemade pizza with salad and leftover dessert.  Of course, we would get together to nurture a  long–standing friendship.

I was about to write when . . .
the daughter of a fellow superannuate phoned to invite us to an impromptu December 23 birthday celebration for her mother.  Would we come?  There was cake and lots of wine, she expostulated.  Those inducements, however attractive, were hardly necessary.  Of course, we would attend.

I was about to write when . . .
friends asked us for supper.  Could we come?  Of course, we would be delighted.

So writing, a priority in my world, took a back seat this Christmas.  Not to gifts that must be purchased, or a house begging for decoration, or traditional and desired foods to be whipped up, or music crying for attention.  Writing took a back seat to people, of course.

After all, Christmas is all about people, and, in my experience, only about people.  Gifts, decorations, good food, and exquisite music mean nothing unless they enhance people.  Thoughtful gifts  communicate to their recipients that others care for them, and know them well; a beautiful tree creates a festive and reflective atmosphere  that enhances celebration; delectable dishes enable people to reconnect with nostalgic experiences; music layers joy throughout a  liturgy.   Refusing an invitation in order to pack an extra gift or prepare another treat or make things a little shinier, those are misplaced priorities.  Christmas, and the feelings and mood we associate with it, come only from people.

Without you, generous readers, this blog is a tree falling in a forest.  Thank you for reading.  A merry Christmas season to all of you.

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