Christmas edition, 2006
No one wants to grow up. And I don’t blame them. Childhood is the most precious time in life. When the world is so fresh and new and experience so raw and innocent that reality is more like fantasy and reality is some distant fantasy you will conquer when you get there.
There isn’t a Santa Claus or an Easter Bunny. It may seem inconsequential at first glance, this lie perpetrated upon us by our most intimate relations. But it is a life lesson. Go on, believe it.
Nothing is what it seems, and there is nothing to believe in. No one can be trusted. What we think of as truth isn’t. It is a function of the Uncertainty Principle that we cannot know anything. Shit happens, but it’s still just shit until someone gives it meaning.
What your parents were trying to teach you wasn’t that some fat foreigner in a red suit is gonna slide down the chimney with a tote full of presents or that a man sized rabbit actually exists. What they were trying to do was condition you to the fact that nothing is real, and whatever ground beliefs are founded on is shaky at best. Feel free to believe; in fact, it’s encouraged. But don’t ever indulge in the illusion that it can’t all disappear in an instant. Yeah the world was flat. Until it was suddenly round.
As for me, believing is hard, but Christmas is easy. I knew my grandparents were the real Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. They would arrive at our house for supper each Christmas Eve with gifts I would eagerly open in hopes it might be something other than new trousers and a sweater to wear to Mass that night. Come on, I prayed. Be a Game Boy. Just this once.
What truly made Christmas special in my mind was the traditional Midnight Mass, a strangely transcendent experience for a recently awakened half asleep eight year old still occupied with dashed dreams of interactive video entertainment. Even now Latin is spoken at our church, and most of the proceedings were lost on me, even after I had learned to understand the language. There always comes the moment, however, when the dogmatic ritual has built itself to the point of maximum tension, and suddenly I am face to face with the most beautiful set of piercing blue eyes, shining in the dim light of the basilica. I did not see her there before. She leans her blond head to me in a reverential nod and extends her open hand. It is exceedingly warm and comforting. Her lips part and she speaks. It’s something a little bigger than a fat man in a bad outfit.
Peace be with you.