You and I have gotten to know each other rather well in this space, kittens.
As a result, I know one of your greatest longings this holiday season.
You’re longing to look at cats’ faces and ears and tails and gloriousness.
We hear ya. And we’re here for ya. As we do each year, we’ll be turning this blog into a feast of feline photography for much of December. In addition to wishing to meet your every wish, this is for two reasons:
- Your dotty scribe is also Tabby’s Place’s Development Director. Since you folks are outrageously generous to our cats this time of year, I am up to my earlobes in thanking you and processing your outrageous donations and dancing around in a great big mountain of checks.*
- You’re shopping. You’re baking. You’re watching Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Your time is precious — and your precious time is best spent ogling cats.
And so begins the time that gets even Santa starry-eyed: Gratuitous Cat Photo Season.
First, however, I hope you’ll pardon me some December musings.
This time of year makes our longings louder.
It’s not the tinsel. It’s not the Lexus-in-a-bow ads. It’s certainly not that terrifying Elf on the Shelf. But something about the holiday season can get us all wistful for things we’d forgotten we wished for.
Children, by which I mean all of us, long for toys.* Singletons long for love. Empty arms long for little ones. The grieving long for reunion. All hearts long to “repeat the sounding joy.”
The commercials don’t cause this. The lights only illuminate it. Somehow even All I Want For Christmas Is You and cats dressed in antlers whisper of it. All the mandated merriment and heavy-handed heartwarming may be a little much, but underneath it points to something real.
We’re longing for a level of peace and joy just beyond our reach.
You can catch a glimpse of it, like a light through a keyhole, in miraculous moments.
When you pet your crankiest cat, and all of a sudden you stroke a wonder-spot on her chin that sends her from bristling to bliss, you feel it.
When you crunch into your grandma’s pfefferneuse and sense a sweetness deeper than the powdered sugar, you taste it.
When you sing Joy to the World and your voice catches on “and wonders of His love,” you hear it.
There is no perfect holiday this side of heaven. Quoth my #1 gangsta C.S. Lewis:
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
But this need not force us to have a blue Christmas or a gray Chanukah. Instead of expecting everything from the season, let’s savor it as an appetizer. We can give our love with gusto and get the grinches and gleeful around us to repeat that sounding joy a little louder. The best is yet to come.
And we will marvel in the miracles that we see and hear and snuggle through the keyhole, even now.
*No, not literally. Although that would be awesome. And you are outrageously generous all year, actually, but in December you take outrageous to Jem levels. If you’ve not yet given outrageously this year, I will be so outrageous as to ask you to do so right now, right here. Thank you, thank you, thank you, mighty lovers of cats.
**For instance, I know Jonathan wants this.
***February 2015 addendum: the good people of Hammacher Schlemmer have noted the link above, and request that we include a coupon for their site. Here you go. Now you have no excuse not to get Jonathan a Superplexus.
Photo credits from de top: Dawg, Lester and Hocus by AT, Hobbes by Mark.