Christmas Quiet

After all the bombast and the lead-up, we land in the quiet post-mortem lull of the holiday. There’s the bump of New Year’s just ahead, but for most intents and purposes this is it: the end of the show. As a kid, it was only the beginning – the full-week of vacation in which to try out all the new toys. As an adult, it’s usually back to work unless it fortuitously falls on a weekend, as it does this year (with a full moon no less – the likes of which haven’t happened since 1977 and won’t again for another 19 years).

This year, I will keep things quiet and peaceful – or at least do my best so as not to tempt that full-moon madness. It’s a reflection of what I’ve learned after 40 Christmas seasons. I know the glow and the magic of the holiday that will matter as opposed to the fleeting thrills and scurrilous rivalries that rear their ugly heads whenever families get together. I also know that this warm and cozy good-will-toward-men attitude is ephemeral at best, and by the time the snowstorms return to the northeast, we’ll all be swearing at each other and cursing our lots as if Santa and Baby Jesus and all those Christmas angels were mere figments of imagination. In other words, we go back to being real.

Before that, though, I want to linger a bit here, in the quiet and the serenity, in the silence after the song. I want to pause beneath the Christmas tree, taking in its forest-like essence, reconnecting to a simpler time, a more meaningful moment. I want… after all the gifts and the cologne that will last throughout the years, I still want… and it’s a want that goes unfulfilled and always will, because there is no magical material possession that will ever fill its emptiness.

It’s a want that Christmas promises to deliver every year, but never does.

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