For as long as I can remember, Christmas was my favorite time of year. There was actually a joke, in my family, that I would require a house built around Christmas. Not built on December 25th, rather architecturely designed and planned around Christmas. A cozy fireplace in every room, with mantels deep enough to display my ever growing Nutcracker collection, Nativity Scene, and cherished crystal Candlesticks. Gleaming Oak staircase, to twist garland around. A grand foyer, with a cathedral ceilings, to glorious display a Rockefeller Center sized evergreen. My cards were addressed as I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. My family tree was put up after the town's annual Santa Claus parade. Literally, right after. For many years, while living on main street, I would invite guest to view the parade, out the front window, then trim the tree afterward.
One year, not too long ago, all of that changed for me, and I can actually pinpoint the moment that it did. Picture me, in the living room Christmas morn, sipping orange juice, and opening gifts with my spouse of almost 2 decades. Actually, he was opening the gifts, and he had purchased nothing at all for me. His eyes filled with tears as he tore open his treasures and he uttered to me, how behind he was with things, because work was hit and miss, but after he returned to work, he would give me a Christmas gift I would remember for the rest of my life.
He was true to his word, in the first week of January, a stranger knocked at my door, to present me a package. Not just any package, he was there to serve me with divorce papers. Looked down at the envelope in my hand, and seeing the words Merry Christmas in an ever so familiar hand writing, those words, that season and everything I had once held so near and dear to me, instantly lost all meaning.
I don't celebrate Christmas, anymore As a matter of fact, it was years before I could even bring myself to putting up a tree again. Even then when I did, it was the neighbours that did the deed, as I could barely bring myself to look at the ornaments. Soon after, I sold everything, without even going through the boxes. I am not sure if that gift that I will remember the rest of my life, was a catalyst to me becoming Pagan or not, but I am sure it helped, as I wanted to be anything at all, but that Christmas loving woman, wearing tacky Christmas garb and sipping bitter tasting orange juice, in a living room full stuff that had absolutely nothing at all, to do with what the spirit of the season.
Everything I do, on this path, is about as opposite and far removed from that woman, as can possibly be. I don't even own a tree anymore, much less put one up. There is no special wardrobe, no mantel, and no orange juice sipping, gift ripping sessions. All of those things, have gone with the wind, and yet there is more spirit now than ever before. In December, I light candles and burn them bright. I fill my room with love and light, and hold hands with those I cherish, in the hopes that my spark will fill others, with spirit as well. I sit up all night long to welcome the winter sun and enjoy the warmth it brings to my life. In December, and every month that follows, I try, bring harm to none, with memories of crocodile tears and words filled with willful disrespect, lingering closely in my mind. Hoping with all my hope, I never in my entire life, make someone feel for one second, how his words will make me feel, for the rest of my life. As this path is important to me, and I now know, what Shakespeare meant when he said "Love all, trust a few, and do harm to none".