December 2011

As I get older, everything, except me, seems to be moving faster. Years pass by in an instant. When I was a kid, summer vacation felt like half a year; now a year feels like six months. One day I’m 46 years old, then hurricane-force winds blast in 47. Deadlines, personal or professional, race toward me like they’re a living thing that knows I only have a finite time here; It’s like they’re saying “you better get this done real soon or else ...” Unsettling, really.

Christmas is conspiring against me, too. On November 18, I drove by a house decked out in holiday splendor; Santa lit up in the front yard, reindeer glowing nearby, and a fully trimmed tree framed perfectly in a living room’s picture window. Isolated incident, I thought. Well, until I saw a similar scene a few miles down the road. This house was replete with festooned white and red blinking lights along its trim and a luminous nativity scene in the front yard. Later that weekend, two radio stations were playing Christmas music 24/7. Whatever happened to Macy’s telling us when Christmas began?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m no Scrooge. I’ve always loved the holidays. I get that Christmas is supposed to be 365 days a year, if not in spirit but practice. But why do we appear to be rushing the symbolic representation of it? Christmas, with all its beauty is like life itself — fleeting. Too much of anything breeds boredom. It’s like a spectacular view. See it only every now and then and it keeps its wonder; See it everyday and you stop valuing it — almost like you say, “Well, sure it’s pretty, but I bet you there are better views.”

My children want the tree up as soon as possible, like before Thanksgiving. Not going to happen. Christmas works for me because it is for such a short moment in time. It’s precious, rare and valuable. I will not rush it. And besides, Christmas will come around in what will feel like just a few months after this one has passed, anyway. Maybe my kids won’t realize that now, but, God willing, they will … in time.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year.

P


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