As I grow older--and, I fear, none wiser--the temptation to grow far too introspective near year's end takes hold, especially around Christmas, a holiday fraught with the peril of traditions handed down from generations of family upon family and heavy with the burdens of so many added tasks and stressors. It's easy to become overwhelmed and isolated. Things look impossible, or at least incredibly difficult.
This feeling is not new, I found out. Writer Julia Peterkin put it aptly in A Plantation Christmas:
I hear that in many places something has happened to Christmas; that it is changing from a time of merriment and carefree gaiety to a holiday which is filled with tedium; that many people dread the day and the obligation to give Christmas presents is a nightmare to weary, bored souls; that the children of enlightened parents no longer believe in Santa Claus; that all in all, the effort to be happy and have pleasure makes many honest hearts grow dark with despair instead of beaming with good will and cheerfulness.
That was in 1934.
As we rush headlong into 2008, plugged into life digitally and otherwise, I hope we try to give ourselves a break. I hope we find some peace. I hope we try.
And I hope the effort isn't so very hard after all.
Merry Christmas from The Dept. of Nance.