The light has returned; the Son is born, and joy can be felt once more.
I remember going to midnight mass at church once or twice. This was the song that would be played just after midnight, when it was officially Christmas and no longer Advent. That rush, that joy, that spirituality always made me giddy and glad I’d come. My doubts, my lack of faith, didn’t matter; it was Christmas morning, and I was one of the throng of people who had gathered to witness the joy.
It’s Christmas morning! As a child, I negotiated a compromise between my father and us kids: we’d get up as early as we wanted, open our stockings, but we wouldn’t touch a wrapped present until he had the video camera set up. In return, we’d let him sleep. He’d be sure to put some kind of toy in the stockings so we’d have something to keep us entertained, and then he’d get up and film the present-opening and make pancakes and cocoa and we’d enjoy ourselves.
We had a fun tradition of stealing his tie a few days before Christmas wrapping it up, and gifting it back to him as a joke gift. Every year, he’d open the same Silver Surfer tie and happily exclaim how it was perfect, he loved it, it was exactly right. Later, when we had more cash, we bought him a super-cheap Batman tie, which became the new tie to be stolen and regifted, usually alongside a real gift, such as a book by a comedian or some other amusing bit of laughter. We were always joking around, the three of us.
We found humor in the oddest things, too. We used to drive around Christmas Eve looking at the lights; one year, we found someone who had put up an inflatable Santa which actually inflated and deflated at regular intervals to make it seem as though he was going down the chimney. That night, however, it was particularly windy; when he inflated, he immediately fell back over. We spent a good twenty minutes watching and laughing at “Falling Santa”.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that joy is a funny thing. It comes in fits and bursts, and it’s never quite rational — it’s a divine experience, taking you out of the ordinary for a brief, sublime moment. Given that framework, I can’t imagine what “everlasting joy” would be. As the Baker’s Wife put it in Into The Woods:
Oh if life were only Moments,
even now and then a bad one
But if life were made of Moments,
then you’d never know you had one.
What brings you joy this holiday season?