Friday, January 2, 2009


Anticipating a holiday stirs the imagination and offers welcome relief from our everyday worries. Thinking about the Thanksgiving turkey, that special stuffing, the velvety smoothness of the pumpkin pie, makes our mouths water even before the actual meal is placed before us. Hearing the ringing bells, delighting in the twinkling lights, smelling the spicy tang of the Christmas trees lining the streets, evokes the feelings of pleasures to come...

But often, the reality of the celebration doesn’t live up to the anticipation. There’s fatigue, frustration and disappointment along with the joviality. Anticipation stirs up a fantasy of satisfaction that is often not realized in childhood or in later years.

The idea of going home for the holidays fills our thoughts weeks before the trip is to start. When we get home there is often the realization that everything has changed or nothing as changed. Amid the pleasure of reunion, there is the memory of past hurts, rivalry, the dreams that haven’t been realized. There is often a feeling of depression about time that can’t be relived, the aging clock that can’t be stopped.

When there’s no family, few friends, no plans, the loneliness can be more painful than at any other time. And then there’s the impact of the world around us. It’s Christmas 2008. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. We’re trying to feel the holiday surge, but have you heard much laughter, seen a lot of smiling faces? Most likely you’ve heard tales of woe, disbelief about this corrupt and frightening world.

And all that talk about money, money, money. There’s an old saying that when the Dow goes down the erections go down. Personal relations reflect the tensions and the fears. And then, undercutting our attempts to enjoy the holiday, whatever the circumstances, there is that moment of truth we recall, when we learned there really is not Santa Claus. But then again, there’s always the hope that next year he will appear.


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