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on the first day of christmas

14 December 2008

Today I went to James River’s Christmas service with my family. (the four of us together in church is itself a Christmas miracle…)
If you’ve ever been to James River, especially to a holiday service, you know the meaning of the word spectacle. And I don’t mean to be derisive. It’s spectacular.
We walk in to a Trans-Siberian orchestra song; later we’re entertained by a kids choir, ballerinas, a video depicting real human drama. The musical highlight by far was this operatic African American dude in full black suit and huge silver cross necklace, who sang Silent Night, inflecting his longer notes like the Cowardly Lion. Thisclose to yawning, but somehow not. Skills.

Anyway, they were selling the Christmas cheer, and I was buying it.

So, if you count today and Christmas, there are 12 days until the big day.
Weeks ago I had the idea to write about Christmas every day in December, and I’ve kept Christmassy notes between then and now (ps: Word recognized “Christmassy.” Neat.) but haven’t gotten serious about writing.
Well this is serious.
Christmas could just come and go like Halloween did this year, without me taking much time to really enjoy all I love about it (memories! well-planned gifts! making cards! friends! food! decorations! photos! songs! movies! books! tv variety shows! tradition!).

Also, it’s easy to ignore holiday cheer when your general disposition is a notch or two below cheerful.  These lyrics have meant something different to me this year:

have yourself a merry little christmas, let your heart be light; from now on our troubles will be out of sight

See what I mean?  LET your heart be light.  It’s like I need to give myself permission to slow down and enjoy Christmas for all the good things it represents:  joy, peace, family , new beginnings, giving…and do my best to ignore the not-so-good:  stress, filling emotional needs with things, overeating…but MAN i love christmas food…

So I’m giving myself an assignment:
The next 12 days of my life are going to be so damn jolly your heads will spin.

I have things to read:
Jean Shepherd’s stories, A Christmas Carol, David Sedaris, Christmas At The New Yorker, etc.
I have things to watch:
Charlie Brown, Scrooged, White Christmas, D*ck in a Box, etc.

I have various holiday events to attend and gifts to wrap and who knows what else will pop up.

And most importantly, I have 25 years of Christmases to revisit and sift for stories. (and oh man, the photos. some unfortunate turtlenecks in elementary school…).

so get excited.  Tis the season to start writing.

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