The cookies are eaten.
The gifts are unwrapped.
Our hearts are half-splendor, half-melancholy.
Christmas is over.
Actually, it isn’t. But first, let’s grieve the fact that it is. (Confused? Good. So am I. Stay with me.)
That certain gentleness that glazed the room on Christmas Eve has given way to old fights about moldy politics.
That season-long moment of connection you shared with all living things — or just the things living nearest you — seems as distant as the first Christmas star.
Everything new has gone into closets, joining the older olds.
Jingle bells are vanishing from a different door every day.
And we, hapless creatures, are betwixt and between the magic we still need, the stress we’re grateful to shed, and the newness that’s calling our names, all scary and shimmering.
So if, in these post-holidays, you’re feeling blue, go on and feel it, kittens. Allow the ache. Mourn Christmas. Wasn’t it grand? Wasn’t it stressful? Wasn’t it something beyond words and meows and cards and gifts? Aren’t you relieved and heartbroken that it’s over?
Isn’t it good that it’s never over?
Leaving aside the very real fact that we are only three days into the twelve days of Christmas, drop the calendar altogether. There is a hardy halo around the holidays that doesn’t leave on December 26th. Something in late November may crack our crusty spirits open to receive it more fully, but make no mistake; it’s ever and always with you.
You cannot lose the soul behind the sense that all could truly be well, that on some level all is well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
You cannot be robbed of the romance of “the season,” the jumbo joys and secret sparkles that thrilled your heart like a child, the child you really are.
There is no end to the stout candle of good, the un-blow-outable flame of Love and Hope and Faith in something sturdier than Santa Claus (who is real, who loves you, and who is doing just fine back at the Pole).
Christmas is at its best when it reminds us of what’s never-ending, un-defeatable, quietly conquering all that aches.
Here as usual, we’re wise to consult the cats.
The Tabby’s Place cats are reliably unruffled by the holiday hustle. Sure, they’ll snooze beneath faux fir trees and bundle up in red-bowed baskets. They’ll eagerly appreciate all the gifts they can get, preferably buttered bacon-wrapped bacon.
But there’s no sense that they sense anything “special” about this time of year. Because, to a cat — to a Tabby’s Place cat — vision is always completely clear. No mist masks the Very Real Love that endures. December 25 or March 9 or August 12, it doesn’t matter; love has come to stay, and all is well.
All is well. Feel your melancholy and be honest with your blues, but don’t forget the light that no darkness can overcome. It’s Christmas still, now, forever. Let’s remind each other. Let’s hold each other’s hearts safe and tight in all seasons.
And, yes, of course, this entire meditation was simply a vehicle for Gratuitous Cat Photos. Merry life, you wondrous creatures.