Thursday, December 24, 2009

Feeling Seasonal

It's Christmas Eve, and my wife and I are having some family over today, and we'll be spending time with them tomorrow as well.

While I can feel a sense of anticipation (of something, not sure what), I can't say I'm feeling Christmas yet. I love this time of year, and this year is no different. There's a little snow, a lot of rushing around, and everything's decorated with festive lights and colors. And yet there's something missing. Usually, I'll fumble around a bit until I can put a name on it, but that's not happening this time, I don't think. There's nothing missing in my life. I have everything I need. But somehow, it's not here yet, whatever it is.

Later this evening, after everyone has gone home and I reflect, consciously or not, on how nice it was to see everyone and spend time in the glow of the Christmas tree lights, eating food, and laughing (there'll be plenty of laughter, for sure), I will probably, suddenly get that feeling. You know:  that feeling. The one that tells you you've spent all day not feeling like it's Christmas Eve and then...wham!'s a little bit before midnight and it's almost Christmas Day. Tomorrow morning, you'll wake up sleepily, stuff yourself gradually with food and drink, basking in the coziness of an early winter morning, and then spend an hour or so opening presents. The rest of the day will be a blur of time with family, eating more food and drinking more wine, watching Albert Finney's Scrooge, and trying to ward off the feelings of sleepiness.

It is the time of year when want is most keenly felt and abundance rejoices, Charles Dickens famously wrote in A Christmas Carol. How true those words are. It's the time when if you are without anything--money, food, family, friends, a certain person, direction in your life--you truly feel it more deeply, closer to the bone. But if you have plenty of those things, you'll realize just how fortunate you are.

For most of us, though, it's both: we have much, but we lack something. Both are fairly pronounced by the holiday season.

I have much good in my life--blessings which I'll count in private, I'm sure. I am even going into the holidays this year with my first book deal, which makes it even more special, particularly in dreaming of what great things will follow. Again, I don't mean money. I mean the sense of well-being that comes from having dreamt of something and worked extremely hard for it for a lot of years. I never thought those years, those minutes, those days, would be wasted, but it sure is nice to know it for sure, to have proof of something that--until now--I only believed in and that some others believed in.

I guess it's sort of like faith. I used to think that that was something that was missing from my life and, certainly, it was. But this year, it's different. I realize that I've gone into Christmas for many years now with a sense of lack, a feeling of having been left in the cold and not being allowed to sit at the big, fancy table. This year, I don't have that feeling. I have other feelings--more positive feelings--to replace them. Strange, but in those other years, I never had any trouble mustering that special feeling of Christmas. Maybe there's a reason for that. Maybe the feeling of want was keen, and that somehow I either identified it with Christmas, or compensated for it with Christmas.

Either way, I now know what's missing and why, feeling it or not, it's Christmas. The thing is to realize it, I suppose. The feeling will surely come, just like family will enter later this afternoon.

Be good to one another, but especially to yourself.


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