Thursday, January 5, 2012

Is the Spirit Lost?

The past few years the holidays seem to be especially hard. They literally leave me feeling emotionally and physically spent. The holidays seem to be so hard, because  I expelled so much energy trying to keep out this growing sense of doom and negativity that just bombards me during the “holidays”, I’m exhausted by the time their over. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but to be honest after Thanksgiving I wish we could just skip the “Holiday Season”.  I’ll tell you what I do think “the Holy Spirit” may just be lost.

There’s something missing.  Do you feel it? A sullenness that’s creeping in and I don’t think it’s just missing at the holidays, only that I can feel it more then.  As time went it got stronger or I got weaker, I’m not exactly sure. Like a crack opened somewhere and darkness is leaking through. I can’t put my finger on it, but something’s off and it’s growing.

Let me begin by saying I’m not religious person. I’m more spiritual. I got kicked out of my catechism class more times than I can count. Many because I asked too many questions.*snort*

It wasn’t my belief that changed. I’ve always seen the “Holiday Season” for the marketing enterprise it was, even as a child. But I didn’t care. It wasn’t as important as the joy and excitement that the holiday brought me. It meant so much more than just gifts. It was Christmas time!! My mom and I would take the train downtown just to see Marshall Fields windows come to life. What a treat that was.

Then after lunch, we'd would go to Daley Plaza (back then it was called the Civic Center Plaza) to see the Christmas tree. And yes, contrary to some rumors that some of you may have heard, it’s a Christmas tree!

It wasn’t until much later when I found out the originals of the “Christmas Tree” and what a Yule log actully was. That many of the Christen rituals were “borrowed” from the Pagans winder solace celebrations.

I can tell you I never once read about Christmas trees or that guy in the red suit in catechism classes (one of those questions that got me kicked out of class).  Still what matter most was that “Spirit” Christmas. And it was strong, alive.

Still I didn’t care when the tree became a part of Christmas. Or what was borrowed from who or why it was intergraded in the holiday. I loved everything about it. All of it! Every decoration every twinkling light stung from every eve. When it was time to go get the tree, well that was the moment Christmas, at least for me, really began. I would sometimes just sit and stare at it. The only light was from those on the tree, and dream.

And sure the gifts were great, but for me it was that damn tree.  And OMG, the smell of fresh pine from that tree, could it get any better than that? Not for me.

 We always went to the lot Mr. Goldberg ran for The Boys Club of America (in 1990 they added Girls to the name). I know, how ironic that our Jewish neighbor ran the Christmas tree sales. You want to know what’s even more ironic; no one thought anything of it, because it was for a good cause. The money from those sales went to The Boys Club and that was what mattered. That’s what I mean. The “Spirit” of Christmas held no prejudice. Or was it just a little girl’s heart that didn’t?  

And Christmas was about family. Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner was always at my family house. My mother fed the whole family no one question this, it just was. Someone got married great, just meant another plate got added. Can’t come for dinner, they came for dessert. The point is they came. Somehow everyone ended up at our house one way or another. Neighbors included. The house I grew up in was smaller then what I live in now, and I can’t do that. It must have been the full basement or maybe that we had two full kitchens, one upstairs one downstairs. We ate downstairs in the basement and that table went the whole length of the basement. And there was always more than enough food. Don’t get me wrong. Everyone brought something. But my mom did most of the cooking and man could that women cook. But you see it wasn’t about gifts it was more about family and friends laughing and wine. I mentioned being Italian right?

Being Italian that meant on Christmas Eve it was all fish, no meat (ok so there was still meatballs and sausage, don’t tell the Pope) and Christmas there was always duck and pasta, and yes more sausage and meatballs. Head count never fewer than 50. Yes, you read that right. Maybe not all at once, but you get the point.

So why is it now you only get a Christmas card only if you send one? What the hell happened? Where did THAT “Spirit” go? Is it just me? I have just gotten jaded? Or is something else happening?
Ok so maybe we can’t have the big family dinners like that anymore. Things change, I understand. People move, family structures change, sometimes more than a few times. It’s hard I understand. Things don’t stay the same. But that “Spirit” that sense of something more that shouldn’t have changed. It’s not the same.  I hear it all the time in different ways the murmurs of discord. The numbers of suicides are the highest at the holidays for a reason. 

Maybe I just want to be that little girl who used to dream under the tree again.  Who still believed in fairy tales and unicorns and…nope sorry she’s still there.

So I ponder, what happened that caused this uneasy feeling I have of unsoundness.  A feeling of darkness that is slowing opening up a black hole or a crack that seems to be changing the balance of things. And not just at the holidays, but its then, for me, that it’s felt the strongest. How many are guilty of saying; “I’m glad that’s over”, or “oh god not the holidays again”!!!! I heard one guy say “HO HO HO! PLEASE, JUST KILL ME NOW! Oh yea Merry Christmas”
Gotta admit that one got a chuckled out of me.

The question is the Spirit of Christmas lost or are we?

Ok I don’t want to leave this on a note of gloom and doom.  So how about a New Year chuckle!!

Come on that’s funny!!!

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