This morning I was looking through the blog archives for some of my favorite Christmas songs, which led me to my older Christmas Eve posts. I noticed certain commonalities — apparently Christmas Eves have been rainy in Mondoville for much of the blog’s duration. Mrs. M goes to work out in the morning, as the Y closes early and won’t reopen for a couple of days. The Spawn sleeps late (although this is not a Yuletide thing as much as it is the condition of being a teenager.) And I relax in the den or living room with the Hound of the Basketballs and write a blog post.
All these conditions remain in effect. We’ve had a substantial amount of rain in the last few days, but it’s tapering off today, and the next couple of days should be dry, and unseasonably (though not unprecedentedly) warm. I think I hear the Spawn beginning to stir upstairs as the Hound snores in the dog bed behind me.
And Christmas still feels odd to me in this, the time of the New Normal, in the echoes of the Big Noise now six years past but never quite passing. It’s welcome — always welcome — but not what it had been, and I feel the phantom pain of remembered limbs now missing and irretrievable.
It reminds me of the narrator of Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi“, who after seeing the Incarnation, finds that his old life no longer really fits him:
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
And time sweeps us all into the alien country of the future, sometimes quietly and sometimes dramatically, even when we think we are in the lands of “the old dispensation.” It has changed, or we have changed, or both, and we wonder whether we fit at all in this new land.
But it is the land we have, and so we do the best we can in it, and we find beauties with which we had been unfamiliar, whether because they are new or because we simply hadn’t noticed them before. And we do this because the alternative is to be too angry at our displacement to see beauty at all. And having taken that choice, we trust — I trust — that even the “another death” of which Eliot’s narrator speaks will itself bring us to a real home.
See you tomorrow!