Welcome to December. We’ll see the end of 2021, the year we hoped would bring the end of all the dreadful experiences of notorious 2020. For many, it hasn’t been a whole lot better. But December. . . the home of 91 holidays, observances and recognitions on a list I found recently – including serious ones like the last days of Hannukah, World AIDS Day, Pearl Harbor, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve. The nadir and hope experienced in the Winter Solstice since the dawn of humanity. And little-known but important days like World Soil Day and International day for the Abolition of Slavery. International Epidemic Preparedness Day. And fun days like National Chocolate Covered Anything Day, National Mutt Day, and No Interruptions Day.
And of course, Christmas. How to you feel about Christmas? Is it a time of joy and magic, generosity and family fun? Is Christmas theologically powerful for you? Do you jump into the enchantment despite disbelieving the story? Or does the culture of commerce and excess ruin it all? Does the childhood memory of family dysfunction weigh heavy on you? Do you dread all the prep or the prospect of having the vaccination discussion with family members on the other side of the divide? Or do you come from an entirely different tradition? Or is it all just overlaid with the gloom and anxiety of living in a Covid era? There are so many layered and sometimes contradictory feelings.
I hope you will find your way through this tangle in the ways that work for you and your family. Might you simplify inherited traditions to be easier on your time and energy? Might you reach out to bless the world with your resources? Might you embrace the self-care of a cup of tea and a real paper letter to an old friend? Or the more challenging self-care of limiting your contact with the forces of chaos and sorrow in your life? Or choose one of the 91 December observations (just Google December Holidays 2021) to make art or cook a meal or make a donation or fashion a family celebration?
Whatever and however you celebrate, I wish you merry holiday season and a healthy and fruitful new year.