December 24, 2013 10:41:03 AM
Christmas is near at hand. We know this not by a simple glance at the calendar, of course.
We know it is Christmas from the faint aroma of burned credit-card plastic, thinned wallets, frazzled nerves, small children whose behavior is suspiciously good, a lack of attention to detail to every-day duties and the inability to understand "why everybody just won't get out of our way, for crying out loud."
Of course, we recognize that there are a few among us for whom this season is all comfort and joy. And we are close to the point where we loathe those people.
For the rest of us, we find ourselves teetering on the precipice of Grinch-dom. It's been too much work, too much bother, too much everything.
And it is at that point that, generally speaking, the glorious day arrives and we are pulled back from the brink of Christmas-preparation overload and find the joy of the season and we become sane, pleasant people once more.
Like Scrooge, Christmas Day dawns and we find that our good humor has returned. All those preparations--the shopping, the decorating, the cooking -- culminate in a frenzy of activity. The gifts are opened, the feast is enjoyed and we slip comfortably into the peace of the holiday, surrounded by as many or as few family and friends as can be assembled.
In those homes inhabited by little ones, there is the joy of Santa's visit. Invariably, there will be things to assemble, games to play. Someone will have to go in search of batteries, of course, because we forget about batteries in much the same way we forget about the cranberries until all the other foods have been placed on the table and we are all three bites into the meal.
Someone says, "Oh, we forgot the cranberries!" and we all laugh. Every year.
Then, all the activity ends.
The house will be a mess, with remnant of gift wrap dotting the landscape around a decorated Christmas tree that somehow seems oddly naked. The dishes are piled in the sink. And it won't matter.
At least not for a while.
Then, in the quiet of the season, we will reflect on things that our minds always turn to on Christmas and each of us will be alone with our thoughts and feelings..
Another Christmas has come and gone. Maybe we will reflect on Christmases past, those shared with loved ones no longer with us. We will recall our favorite Christmas moments, of course, and we will assess how this most recent Christmas turned out.
For some people, this may go down as "their best Christmas ever."
For others, that most special Christmas, perhaps enjoyed long, long ago, resonates warmly even as we celebrate this Christmas.
We certainly hope this Christmas is all that you imagined it would be. We would also like to think your "best Christmas ever" is this one, but if not, one soon. Christmas will again be here before you know.
So Merry Christmas to all!
Oh, and don't forget the batteries and the cranberries.
1. Our View: Pre-K programs make a difference DISPATCH EDITORIALS
2. Slimantics: Proposed tax cut a cynical ploy LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Leonard Pitts: Rudy Giuliani, once heroic, now simply foolish NATIONAL COLUMNS
4. Lynn Spruill: Social responsibility LOCAL COLUMNS