Ready: Oh, that day after Christmas letdown
This column’s publication date is Dec. 26, 2015, the day after Christmas and five days after I turned 70 years old (YIKES!), so I have sufficient reason to feel the let-down from the holiday highs of November and December.
Undecking the halls must be done, and the outside lights and Nativity scene that took hours to decorate the yard must be carefully taken down and stored away. Somehow that activity lacks the joyful high that went into the decking.
Then comes the January credit card bill. Groan.
I suspect I’m not the only one who suffers from post-holiday “let down.” The Rev. Ken Goodrich described the loss of Christmas joy in his poem, “Twas the Day After Christmas.”
“Twas the day after Christmas, when all through the town
Every creature was stirring, taking ornaments down.
The lights were extinguished, the candles all burned,
Empty boxes abounded wherever you turned.
The children were cranky, they'd been good for so long
That their innards were bursting to do something wrong;
The toys of which visions had danced in their heads
Lay abandoned in corners, their batteries dead.
When you sprang to the window and threw open the sash,
Your eyes were assaulted by mountains of trash.
So it's back to the office, to the matters at hand,
As relief, like an aspirin, spread through the land,
And the windows, in outlines of colors once bright,
Now returned to dark shadows, as black as the night.
The fires of warm feelings were beginning to wane,
Like the hard, icy touch of a cold windowpane”
Pretty depressing little ditty. Huh?
Well, thankfully the closing verses assure us we don’t have to drown in the after- Christmas doldrums. A new year brings the bright promise of second chances and the motivation to be smarter and more energized as opportunities for success present themselves.
Here’s how Rev. Goodrich’s poem ends:
“As the world, like the dread of an overcast day,
Reverted to form, to its patterns of gray,
When what in our wondering ears should we hear,
But the Word of the Father to be of good cheer;
To take hold of the light that will never go out,
And carry it high, and spread it about.
Throw the holly and ivy out if you will,
But the star is before you. Follow it still.
The wonder of Christmas, of God coming here,
Cannot be confined to the end of the year,
For the light of the manger, which is now packed away,
Continues to shine and glows brighter each day
As the people of God respond to his call,
And take this, the true meaning of Christmas to all:
Friends, the glory of God neither falters nor ends,
For the gift of His presence comes again...and again.”
People would think you're demented if you went around all year saying, "Merry Christmas!" At the Seafood Festival: "Merry Christmas!" At the beach in summer, "Merry Christmas!" At the Fourth of July picnic, "Merry Christmas!" Yes, you’d be quite odd, but not entirely wrong.
Christmas can be any day.
We're reminded by ER doctors, nurses, EMT’s, police officers, firefighters, and others who have to work on Dec. 25 and thus celebrate the 24th or the 26th that Christmas can be observed any day. It's not over and done. In fact, Christmas is never over and done. It might be hidden away in a little corner of your heart, but it's there. It’s any day that brings random acts of kindness or a moment when you stop and observe the beauty of a singing bird in a fragrant magnolia tree. Any act of hope, peace, joy or love is quietly, invisibly tied back to Christmas.
So, on this day after Christmas, I wish you "Merry Christmas," Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, etc. and a very Happy New Year filled with random acts of kindness, singing birds, and fragrant magnolias — regardless of whatever harsh realities beyond our control may lie ahead in 2016.
Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident. Her columns are published on Saturdays.