'Tis the season

December 22, 2009 by barbara

barbara writes

So. Here we are, three days and counting down. How did this happen so quickly? (Answer and question: In the predictable calendared way. Weren’t you paying attention, barbara?)

Scorecard:

• Home holiday decorating (check, albeit in moderation).
• Gifts purchased (check).
• Gift wrapping (double check, because I don’t much like wrapping and thank with my whole heart the Hallmark genius who dreamed up overpriced gift bags).
• Cookie baking (check with huge kudos to daughter and grand).
• Cards in the mail (check and so much for getting them out right after Thanksgiving).
• Cards at the ready (check, for people I forgot to remember).
• Grocery store run for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the Coming of the Brother for the weekend (check).
• Cranberry infused vodka in jar for several weeks (check, though I have no idea why, because I don’t drink the stuff; pretty, though).

Weather forecast: whiteness in abundance here. Appears we may get a serious dump o’snow, beginning tomorrow and continuing through Christmas Day and beyond. Fa la, la la, largo florida... Read on...

I remember learning long ago that Advent is about the time of waiting for something quite special to happen. Living in hope for something unseen, something not yet experienced. With all due respect to the Christian tradition, I believe we have been living a kind of political Advent for the past year or so. And it has nothing to do with a Messiah. Politically speaking, that ranks right up there with (spoiler alert!) the myth of Santa.

We have more or less moved out of the era of hopelessness (aka, the reign of Bush). Watching the door hit his patrician butt as he left the White House was exhilarating. Initially, most of the nation spiked into what turned out to be an exceedingly brief period of joy to the world. And then we plummeted into the era of Eeyore, where we dwell as the holidays approach. From the mountaintop to the slough of despond.

I don’t exempt myself. I do the morose thing as well as the next, ummm, donkey. It’s so easy. It’s harder to hope, particularly in light of disappointments. I believe there’s an exceedingly fine line between realism and despair, between hope and hopelessness. Where does one leave off and the other begin? It's a subjective thing, and, truth be told, a matter of choice. I am a pro-choice liberal. Most (though not all) of the time, I choose hope.

Remember those holiday gifts as a kid? The inflatable, life-size (to a child) clown or Santa or, or, or, with a sand-weighted base? For whatever reason (it seems rather counter-intuitive now), we smacked and pummeled those inflatables until they tilted and lay on their sides, 90 degrees from upright. But always, and sooner than later, they righted themselves. Just sayin’.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate this holiday, and a peaceful holiday season to all.

(Cross-posted at firedoglake's The Seminal.)

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