Walking around my neighborhood the Christmas decorations are looking limp. An inflatable Santa that once stood proud and tall, now looks like a man drowning at sea, arms waving while slowly sinking. Trees are on the sidewalk, tinsel attached that flutters in the breeze as a sort of defiance against the ending of the season. The remains of Christmas in the trash that holds the brightly colored paper and the cut up boxes of those special presents. The season ends on a cold note, snow drifting down, the sky covered with grey clouds a biting cold wind that cuts through to the bone. Even the dog, a normally spright little fellow, is subdued by the cold, his only thought, to get as close as possible to me as I sit here writing. I’m wondering if dogs think about weather as a one or two human night, this being said while he shivers next to me. Christmas is making its exit, it came on with such a force that one had to wonder if anything could stop the juggernaut of cheer that invaded our lives. Now that great juggernaut has been slowed if not altogether halted, the world, that permanent place, continues to turn on its yearly cycle. People scurrying around looking like lost sheep seeking that manger that was there just a moment ago. What happened to that star, what happened in the cold, lonely place? With heads down to thwart the rising wind and blowing snow, the refugees of life’s disappointments and failures push forward like pioneers on the prairie. There is no star to guide, there are no maps for this journey, we can only continue to push forward because what is in the past cannot be recovered.
Mary Oliver writes: “Someone I loved gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.”
The unending mystery that continues to unfold on this journey. Taking the box full of darkness and seeing the gift that lies within, to follow the passion even when the star is gone. The debris of Christmas past becomes the light of Christmas yet to come, the light that shines in the hearts of those intrepid, modern pioneers, with heads bowed, not in fear but reverence.