I start catching sight of the “Christmas Mountain” about the week after Halloween, and it is scarier than any witch or goblin I’ve ever spotted. This terrifyingly steep and imposing peak consists of monumental boulders of expectations – – not only of myself, but of others, of my home, of events, of obligations, of outcomes, and pretty soon just the thought of scaling it seems impossible. (When I was a child, Christmas was about a 2-week deal, start to finish.)
I know that Baby Jesus never intended the thing to get so out of hand. He was the very model of the simple life – – in the end, boiling his own life down to one small word – – love.
Since this blog is about the human potential for learning, can we learn to simplify: to open our eyes, our senses, and our happy hearts so that, like babies, we can take in enough to fill our deepest souls and no longer have to construct mountains for each other to climb? (I’ve seen babies play with empty cardboard boxes with greater joy than adults display with gifts of pure gold, for heaven’s sake.)
When I feel stretched to my own limits at this time of year, it sometimes helps me to just shrug and remember my favorite Christmas quote – – one written by Madeline L’Engle:
“This is the irrational season, when love blooms bright and wild. Had Mary been filled with reason, there’d have been no room for the child.”
Yes, it’s totally unreasonable. We have to hope that amid all the fluff, tinsel, stacks of catalogs, packaging wastes, and garbage trucks something of true value manages to get through.
Psssst. . .here’s an irrational idea: how about getting rid of everything but the love?