Five days into Christmas and nothing at all stirred in me. Given any other year, I would be giddier than my seven-year old cousins ready to receive their countless Santa-given presents on the twenty-fourth. Christmas spirit was a Dana trademark, my friends knew. To see myself now in this phenomenally Grinch-y disposition is an alienation that I haven’t realized until today.
I blamed December traffic, work related stress, people-from-work related stress, the RH Bill debates, the Miss Universe 2012 tragedy, the fact that things at home seem impossible, loneliness, unhappiness, financial crises, sickness, uncertainties of all shapes and forms, the very absence of passion in my life—and I still do. How can one see Christmas when each and every day of your life unsettles you more and more? Looking back, I often welcomed Christmas with unbelievable joy characteristic of a Smurf’s because I was on top of the world: in high school, there was my group of friends; in college, I was living THE dream, among other highs. But now, my life has never been more lonely, more stressful, and more incomprehensible than what it is at present, and because of this fact, I began to see Christmas “for what it really was” and I condemned this season: bumper-to-bumper traffic is infernal; thirteenth-month pay is not even anything because the cash’ll all vanish anyway to gifts that I felt obligated to give to certain people; this house, for many weeks, had seemed like a black hole where the light of Christmas joy goes through and disappears; I had been shooting mucus in very diaphanous quality from every facial orifice for seven days and counting. In short, I was not happy with my life, and therefore, fuck Christmas.
I did away with all my holiday rituals: the Christmas movies, the songs, the carols, the spirit of giving, and even the dawn masses. I was too stubborn; for the first time, I didn’t want to chase after some goody-giddy feeling just because I felt like I wanted to. I had myself think that this was a part of that process of “growing old.” After all, I had a job, and people with jobs aren’t supposed to go giddy at the thought of December 25th. This was a phase in the evolution of the Dana. I was ready to welcome this new version of me that would feel numb or neutral to this particular season for years to come.
And yet again, God (believe me, I had been trying to avoid Him) in his goodness and lovingness decided to hit me in the face. I was not evolving; I was merely tolerating the evil that I didn’t know was starting to eat at my very soul. I didn’t want Christmas this year because I wasn’t good enough, and I haven’t been trying to BE good enough. I have given up trying to avoid my compulsions from defining who I am. I was harsh, I was evil, and I was a bitch, period. For the first time, I did NOT want Christ to enter into the stable of my heart because it was filthy and it reeked of sin and I was not doing anything to clean it up for when he arrives. It was not that every previous Christmas I was a spotless saint, but I have always, always tried harder, and it was in the attempt that I was made to feel what Christmas was.
The mystical emotion of happiness was what I had always equated Christmas with. Because I was happy with my bearable life, the chilly weather, the noche buena and the gifts and the Christmas songs, Christ was here; because my family is complete and isn’t fighting, Christ is here. Because ladidadida and I can’t express where this sudden cheery joy comes from and why, Christ was here.
Things are different now.
I am confused with what I want to do with my life, Christ is here. I am insanely afraid of my family’s health, financial, and personal problems and the fact that I do not know how to deal with any of those, Christ is here. I feel alone and friendless all the time, Christ is here. I do not know where I want my life to be headed towards, Christ is here. I have no money, Christ is here. I am weak and sick, Christ is here. I don’t believe in him, Christ is here. In the unbearable chaos of my heart, Christ is here.
And Christ is here not only because this year, my family will still be celebrating Christmas together, or that I’m still alive and still hold the will to do whatever it is in my life that I feel destined for, or that Francis and I are still together despite so many heartaches, or that I actually have friends who care for me; he is here for reasons that are so much more than the things that I still can be thankful for, for reasons that go beyond my realization that I am still blessed despite what I see and what I feel, for reasons that escape my very capacity to understand.
Nope, I’m still not giddy about Christmas. I don’t think I can ever be happy the way I was during past Christmases, but tonight I realized that it’s okay. I don’t think I have ever felt this thankful in my life ever before, and it’s not only because I still have reasons to thank God for despite my crappy life situation. I am thankful simply because I can choose to be, and this state of giving thanks, of choosing to see my being blessed, is all I need for me to try harder at being good. Tonight, finally, there is gratitude. And there is peace.
(Thank you for teaching me how to count, and in counting, realize that I count to you. How can I ever have the stupidity to not feel Christmas with this? Yes, Jesus, this is the first Christmas I am saying this: you ARE annoyingly persistent, but I love you just the same, and I am more grateful now for you arriving than I have ever been. Thank you, bro, and keep going at coming here. Merry Christmas.)