"The Enchantment of Christmas"
By: Arianna Schifman '21
It’s too dark.
It’s too cold.
There’s too much of a fuss, too much repetition, too much going on all at once, too much family in the living room talking and if I wanted to, I still wouldn’t be allowed to leave.
And yet Christmas is still enchanting.
Because we are obligated to come together. Obligated to give each other tokens of our thoughts of the other. It would be unreasonable to say that we wouldn’t want to do these things without Christmas, but still, it happens because Christmas is right there, the same day, every single year, to remind us.
I firmly believe that we never stop loving each other. But it sometimes doesn’t make sense to tell each other that every day. We are sometimes angry, we are sometimes speaking a script even if, when we looked deep down, we’d still know that we mean what we say.
And so we have a day for it. And we have songs, and we have color schemes and traditions and prayers. We take one of the darkest, coldest parts of our year and we dedicate it to remembering that the dark and the cold doesn’t matter, it doesn’t change who we are, how much we love.
Instead, we decide that this dark and terrible day called “Christmas” ought to have more love in it than any other. We take out the string lights and reflective baubles and a million other pieces of nonsense that we all know is garbage, or commercial, or superficial, or whatever you want to call it. But, it does its job. The streets become bright with candy-colored lights, reflecting off the mirror of the snow that blankets the ground, making it harder to sleep as they leak through my window. They won’t let me rest, they’re single-mindedly dedicated to reminding me that Christmas is on the way.
They don’t let me brush it off.
I love Christmas lights because I’m always sad when it’s dark out. I know that not everyone is, but it still seems to me that that’s just one example of how this waiting, this frantic preparation, means no one can forget what is coming to light up their metaphorical darkness. You are lonely, but your family is driving up on Thursday. You are struggling, but your community is working together to send gifts your way. You are tired, but vacation is coming soon, and you can sleep in until noon if you think you can get away with it.
After Christmas will come a weird couple of days until New Years. 2019 is on its way out, and like the last handful of years of my life, I’m tempted to call it terrible and throw it on the pile of frustrated and tired and fatalistic memories that I encourage. But there is no school for the rest of the year after Christmas, and sometimes I think that’s to remind me that a year of my life is great one because I am alive. No matter what has tormented me this year, Christmas is a day of bright lights and sugary food and obnoxious music and sleepy midnight Masses to wrap up the year in a pretty red and green bow. Christmas reminds me of the love I know has been with me all year, a reminder of the things I treasure and will continue to treasure. Christmas reminds me how good a year is because I am alive and I am full of love and close to so many people.
This year’s almost over, but it’s highlight reel is coming, and it’ll be a doozy.
And we’re almost there!