Unexpected Lesson

Posted by Censor Librorum on Dec 16, 2006 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

Lori and I decided a few days ago we were both too tired to put up a Christmas tree this year. If we were able to spend a few days at Christmas out at the house, we would probably muster up the strength and do it. But unfortunately, right after Christmas dinner we need to clean up and drive back to the apartment.

One of the parts of Christmas we both enjoy the best is to decorate the tree, and decorate all the bookcases, the fireplace, the dining room table with wooden soldiers, windup toys, and all the things Robert made at school over the years, like the brown paper bag reindeer face! I will miss it, but as my mother told me, “It’s not the most important thing.” She’s right–the most important thing is to feel deeply inside the meaning of the holiday–not hustle around in a mad race to do stuff, and feel too exhausted at the end to feel anything other than resentment.

I have never thought of a Christmas tree as a Catholic or Christian symbol of Christmas. It has been for me instead a connection to family, to memories of Christmastimes past; from my memories and from pictures spanning back decades of family members posing by the tree. Actually, the tradition of Christmas trees has its roots in a heathen practice of hanging sacrifices to the gods for luck and fertility. Afterwards, the tree was burned. In Brooklyn–of all places–I once saw a burned tree out by the curb. I wondered, especially, since Bay Ridge had deep Scandinavian roots, that people somehow remembered and honored the old customs. Since then, I have honored the Christmas tree as a connection to all my family and ancestors, Christian and Heathen.

We have decorated the outside of the house with pine and evergreen garlands, wreaths and lights, including my famous red “crab lights” among the buoys. We’ll have a centerpiece for Christmas dinner, a traditon I grew up with and have kept. Instead of trying to do more, I will enjoy what I have. God sometimes seems to have a wry sense of humor. Exhausted, my wheels knocked off, I have no choice other then to rest and mediate on the meaning of Christmas, which is to savor all the love I have in my life.

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply