Saturday, December 19, 2009

Third Song or My Version of the Family Christmas Letter People Send Out With Their Cards

I'm sitting on my sofa, with a cat on either side, taking an inventory of my state of mind as is typical to do this time of year.

I feel happy.

Despite the economy, despite all the fear and unrest in the world, I have had a good year. Except for some complaints of sore muscles here and there, the people I love are relatively happy and healthy. I am warm and dry and have a roof over my head. I have discovered new friends and rediscovered old friends over the internet via Facebook, Twitter and Blip. I have good relationships with man and beast and I still have a job.

Truly, in what could be described as some of the "worst of times," I am blessed with what is quite near "the best of times."

For me the happiest Christmas song is "Carol of the Bells." I probably first encountered it as the background music for the Andre Champagne advertisement. I miss the days when that was the first Christmas advertisement of the season.

"Hark how the bells,
sweet silver bells,
all seem to say,
throw cares away"

When I'm in the midst of a good conversation or enjoying a good meal or watching a good movie, everything seems to compete for attention at once. Every neuron in my body seems to fire simultaneously and the world seems brighter and richer. I feel alive.

"Oh how they pound,
raising the sound,
o'er hill and dale,
telling their tale, "

"Carol of the Bells" is that same experience packaged in a song. The words stumble over each other, as if in the midst of excited conversation. Even the instrumental versions have a hurriedness; not the rushed anxiety of "I have to get to work, I'm late," but the boisterous joy of "I'm alive."

At this time of year, we become so distracted. Too much attention is devoted to fears about our future disguised as "New Year's Resolutions;" too much attention is devoted to what we are afraid we are going to lose disguised as "the clerk said 'Happy Holidays' instead of "Merry Christmas." Too much attention to what we don't have; whether it is time to write Christmas cards and decorate for the holidays or it is money to buy gifts for everyone we love.

"Gaily they ring
while people sing
songs of good cheer,
Christmas is here,"

As for me, from now on I want to take my Christmas cue from "Carol of the Bells." I'm not so naive that I believe I can be happy and giddy every moment, but I want to enjoy those moments - the happy ones - full to bursting over the brim, stumbling over each other with the boisterous joy of "I'm alive."

May this year's holiday moments, no matter what your beliefs or celebration, fill you with love and excitement and peace.