“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” — Norman Vincent Peale
Today’s image: the magic
Okay, another abstract one. Or at least, more of an essence, a feeling than an image. It’s in the air. It’s a readiness, the tension of expectation; it is anticipation.
The day before the main event is probably the most exciting, most celebratory one of all. New Year’s Eve, Hallowe’en, Christmas Eve.
Remember the almost unbearable anticipation you experienced as a child? It doesn’t have to be Christmas; it is any festival where the scene is set, the decorations put up and twinkling down at you, presents wrapped or out of sight, just waiting, the food smells and clatter of preparation? Every sense switched on to high. And it’s all laid out before you like a blanket of stars.
Perhaps a lot of this is down to ‘reconstructive memory’, remembering fragments, in this case, the ‘best bits’. No matter. Those best bits are the stuff of life. They were of such intensity, that I can recall them still. It was less about opening a wanted gift than of sensing the promising crackle of paper in which it was wrapped.
For those with a faith, the anticipating will be to honour the birth of Jesus Christ. But for almost anyone with a Christian heritage, there remains a call to revel and rejoice that is many centuries long. Because there is plenty to celebrate, even for the busy adult. Tradition; family; togetherness; friendships; a break, a shimmer of light, during dark winter.
I lost it, for a while, that urge, in my late teens and twenties. When coming home from university was a bit of a drag, and I allowed the preparations and unfurling of festivity to happen around me, rather grudgingly. Then later forged my independence by not coming home at all some years, partly thanks to living overseas and being too broke, though mostly due to a desire to break away and re-build under my own terms.
It tends to come back. When you settle, root, nest, have children (though offspring are not, of course, by any means essential to rediscovering the enjoyment).
It is going to be harder this year, to build and capture that magic. Don’t let the limitations stop you though, from putting on that music, dressing up, making yourself something beautiful to eat – or doing something selfless for others. Whatever will make the day for you.
This is my last Blogmas post; it is the end of Advent. I’ll put up a reflection of this experience in a couple of days’ time.
In the meantime, wherever you are, from whatever background and belief set: Merry Christmas, Bright Solstice, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, fijne kerst, Wesołych Świąt, god Jul, Buon Natale, Frohe Weihnachten, счастливого рождества, καλά Χριστούγεννα…
And more than anything, let us hope for – let us help to make happen – a better 2021. May there be more days to celebrate for us all.