I have been caroling all week, and most of the bookings were fun. There was a retirement home with a lavish meal for the residents. There was a church group social, filled with friends of mine. Then yesterday there was the two hour booking, standing in one spot, in the Alzheimer's unit of a local facility. Three weeks after my mom's passing, it turned out to be a lot more difficult to keep my composure than I thought it would. I was fine until I saw the smiling old lady in the front row kissing and kissing and kissing the cheek of her middle aged son and telling him how much she loved him. I used to get a lot of that, and suddenly a void opened up in my universe and the jolt nearly knocked me over. Fa la la.
I've gotten as far as taking out the nativity set and dusting off the mantel. There are fake greens and twinkle lights entwined on the railing of the staircase. The incoming Christmas cards are still interspersed with sympathy cards, and the flowers and plants are still arriving. It's a very bi-polar season this year. Joy is a choice. Defiance is a necessity. I don't want to play. I don't want to get in the spirit. But I will, because joy in the face of adversity is the central message here, not commercialism. You either believe the Savior came to Earth and it's worth celebrating, or you don't. I do.