Do you think that Mary-the-Virgin-Mother-of-God ever looked to the heavens after traveling a million miles through desert and bumpy terrain on the back of a saggy-ass donkey passing Inn after Inn with No Vacancy signs but Joseph insisting they can’t ask anyone where the next empty Inn is because he’ll find it himself then they finally end up in a filthy freezing cold manger and she has to give birth without an epidural or even a friendly female face who gets that she’s going through the most painful and terrifying thing in the world and instead there’s bloody straw and a nosy shepherd and three old men with ridiculous gifts when she really needs something useful like a baby wipe warmer or a binky and she says, I hate my life?
Or was it later, with Jesus sneaking off to the market hanging out with hookers and heading up a gang of Apostles and busting up temples and telling everyone he was the son of God and Joseph always working working working fixing other people’s houses while their kitchen cabinets looked like shit and she could never get the utensil drawer open without a fight and her health was going to hell in a handbasket because of stress and poor diet and she was always the one hosting the Seder taking Jesus to play practice making the dentist appointments and putting the toilet paper in the holder and not just sitting out on the sink. Do you think she sat down at the end of the day with a glass of Mogen David and said dear God give me strength?
Christmas. The mother of all holidays. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas there is this eerie residual affect, a dusting of angst that coats your skin and makes you sneeze. So much tinsel and jingling and debt and old wounds. Enormous sighs of disappointment. Frenzied sugar highs and lows. Tender hopes and dreams bruised and buried deep inside. Impossible expectations and global jealousy and utter fatigue. We love it, we hate it, we wrestle it to the ground and strangle every ounce of beauty from it year after year trying, forever trying, to get it right.
I made it through in the usual condition. Gained weight, landfill of trash from wrapping paper and packaging, cookies sitting in tins still not delivered to neighbors, a few spot on gifts and lots of pajamas, missing friends and family who live too far away, didn’t send out cards, feeling hollow and tired, wondering if I’ll ever get it right. How did you do this year?