Usually around this time of year, I would post in my old blog what amounted to a rant about how it is not Yule or Christmas or Alban Arth(u)an yet, it is a time of darkness and silence, of introspection and reflection, and all the lights and music and forced cheer and gaiety are just wrong, wrong, wrong.
I’m not going to do that here, now.
Right now it’s about fifty degrees outside my bedroom window and raining rather heavily. Highs are expected to reach the low sixties tomorrow, with clearing skies, and then temperatures will drop into the forties. I’m listening to early recordings of Louis Armstrong. Some of the houses in my neighborhood are already ablaze with lights; many are not. My officemates did some seasonal decorating today; my only concession so far is that I bought an amaryllis bulb, which is sprouting merrily.
The commercial Christmas, which subsumes willy-nilly all religious celebrations of this season whether Christian or no, is coming earlier every year, heralded with more noise, more desperation. Nothing is going to stop that, especially not the “economic downtown” we are suffering. I exchange gifts with only a very small circle of family and friends, but as the television commercials exhort us ever more loudly to spend, spend, spend in order to prove our love for people, I know there are a lot of families out there who will be worrying, losing sleep, maybe weeping openly because they can’t afford to give as they would like to the people who matter to them. As news anchors promise us things are getting better, as more troops are going overseas, how many parents in my country alone are wondering how to explain to their kids that they can’t afford to give them anything for Christmas? And how many families are sending someone to Afghanistan right before our big family gathering and wondering if they’ll ever see him or her again?
I’m not ready for Christmas lights or Christmas music yet. But I decided that this year, I had better things to do than to upbraid the rest of the world for being in a different place than I am. I can’t stop Christmas from coming too soon, like some kind of high-minded Grinch punishing people for their own good. I’m not ready yet, but if other people are, I will stand aside and wait quietly until I can join them.