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I'm ever so grateful you had the position, gumption and wherewithal to voice what a lot of people struggle through. I hated Christmas, too, around the time the Mall of America opened. I refused to walk through the doors for 6 years. I was livid at commerce and its near-total consumption of this specific amazing, enduring, and humanity-shaping story.

I'm imagining Jon Kabat-Zinn as therapist on this anger point. We're in it. It's even part of us. Yes, we often need to back out for a time, yet we can't entirely disengage.

I hope everyone can get tornadically angry at Christmas, drop out of it, and then re-engage, mindfully, maybe even going to the woods to pick out a Christmas tree deliberately. As long as I'm' talking about "stuff," Christmas is useful, it's old, it's part of the family, has been for generations, and it could be beautiful with a new finish on it and in the right place. I put it in the "Keep" pile.

On "Away in a Manger:"

From one mother to another, I'm convinced there is a sacred moment after which one's own first new baby stops crying. Personally, it gave pause in my outward focus to turn inward and realize, repeatedly, tearfully, rendingly that I desperately already needed everything and a thousand things I didn't know about, including more information. That moment I quintessentially needed. I was just getting started on something I had, and still have no idea what it means or how it will turn out, or even, really, how it happened (yes, I'm cognizant of my participation, but it strikes me as kind of incidental to the whole process). That, for me, was total vulnerability, like leaving on a major vacay with nothing but the clothes on my back, on foot. Contrast that self-focused silence against the horrific screams on the other end of his life, Mom. Although I have to agree, on the surface, it can sound pretty insipid. I don't blame the hymn for that.