Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Little Medicine for Sunday Night Syndrome

Well, the good news is that I don't have even a bit of the Sunday-night blues tonight, because I am on vacation.

The bad news is that my son, though he is very young, does.

"I don't want to be sleepy," he said to me tonight as I tucked him in. "Because if I'm sleepy, then I'll fall asleep, then it'll be MONDAY, and I have school and karate."

"But you do so well in school and karate," I reminded him. "And you'll enjoy seeing your friends.  Then Monday will pass, and it'll be Tuesday, and you can go to your grandmother's house, which you enjoy too."

He was only slightly placated.

I totally understood.


Today at Mass our pastor spun off from the Scripture passage that begins, "Comfort my people," and asked us all to reflect on what brings us comfort.

I've been thinking about those comforts a lot lately, actually, because as much as I cherish the true meaning of Christmas - the presence of love alive in the world, and the hope of spiritual light in the midst of darkness - I really, really enjoy its more superficial, material comforts too.

My absolute favorite thing to do - something I look forward to all year and try to do as much as possible for as long as possible - is wrapping Christmas presents and putting together Christmas cards while Christmas music is playing in the background, or a holiday movie. The other day I finally had my chance to put my pager away and immerse myself completely in holiday spirit. I wrapped to my heart's content.

My husband knows me well. When I caught him glancing in my direction with a little smile on his face I only pretended not to know what he was smiling about. He was happy for me. I sat on the floor like a little kid to cut paper and make gift labels. I was happy for myself.

Most often I do this to CDs featuring the Cambridge Singers or the Boston Pops, though lately thanks to I've also become enamored of Ella Fitzgerald's album Ella Wishes You a Swingin' Christmas. I've done most of my shopping online this year. My son the budding astronomer is getting a book of Hubble space telescope images. My daughter's growing up fast; she wants a pair of black pearl earrings similar to a simple pair I have. As for me - I've ordered myself Zipoli's adagio for oboe, cello, and strings.

The actual stuff doesn't really matter. What I enjoy is the choosing, procuring, and preparing. I love the protracted enactment of one's affections for others, and the chance to reconnect with people near and far.

And I do love the sensory delights of the season.

Snow flurries. Peppermint-flavored cocoa. The smell of butter cookies in the oven. The sound of sleigh bells and festive music. Colorful cards and ornaments and lights. Gifts, food, movies that transport us, stories that inspire, and great company. I know a lot of people find these little details too frivolous, or shallow, or often too commercial, but I really appreciate them. I think they make people stop to look, listen, and feel, to be truly present for a moment, and consider allowing themselves a little childlike wonder, a little faith in the possibility of peace and joy.

1 comment:

Lisa Johnson said...

I'm so with you on the season. I've been baking and renting Christmas DVDs. I think I'm going to pull out a Christmas CD to listen to in a bit.

My parents were always big into the season and actually still are. My mom felt bad for not giving me and my brother Christmas stockings last year! My father nonstop buys eggnog and pies from Thanksgiving through New Years. How could I not end up this way? ; )