Today is a day of getting Elphine to a birthday party, painting Christmas ornaments and doing laundry. I'm also going to watch the Muppets Christmas Carol, a movie I have long (about 3 weeks now, since I first heard about it) desired to see.
I finished reading A Christmas Carol with my class yesterday. Reading it this time has helped put so many cultural Christmas things in their place for me. I've never been a big fan of Christmas. My temperament is more suited to the sorrow and solemnity of Lent and Advent. I relish a bare austere Advent altar and a house during the "Christmas"season with no decorations at all. We put up our tree this year to see if it still worked after being soaked in the flood (NOW! That's the miracle of Christmas!!! Unfolding a perfectly shaped prelit plastic tree with no crying children, no cold, no exhausted trip to a tree orchard with hysterical infants who can't walk and who have had too much sugar and missed their naps, plugging it in and finding it lights up like magic!) but we haven't decorated it and probably won't until after the last Sunday of Advent, for religious reasons, of course, not because we're blinking lazy.
This preference, according to Dickens, makes me exactly like Scrooge. I don't "keep Christmas in my heart" all year. What does that even mean? Is that like having the Holy Spirit? I have Christmas and Jesus, side by side, making me give to the poor and eat too much stuffing, all year.
I tried to articulate this to Matt and experienced one of those tragic moments in marriage when you realize you have bound yourself in love and devotion to someone who now sees that parts of your character are reprehensibly evil. We both fled to the safety of grieving over Maggie because at least we Agree that grief is good and should be done in an orderly and complete way.
So I'm going to go try and "get in the spirit" whatever that means, by watching the Muppets and painting ornaments. Matt is undertaking to bake Christmas cookies (again, what a big disappointment in marriage--9 years together and never once have I made Christmas cookies) because I keep burning my tummy on the stove.