Hey, it’s me. Merry Christmas.
Aren’t the stars beautiful tonight?
Why don’t you throw on a warm jacket and come outside with me for a while. Bring a thermos full of something hot. We can sit on the steps and sink into the inky-black night sky.
It’s quiet here.
I love the stillness of the night, don’t you? I love how the sky is so endless that it reflects my own soul back to me. I’m a bit cold but I feel so alive here with you, just us.
Have you ever read any poetry by Rilke? The first thing I ever read by him was a short verse that reads, “Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.” I feel like Rilke understood a lot of things, don’t you? Things like feeling you don’t quite fit in, spiritual things, solitary, lovely, ethereal things.
Do you see how the fields stretch on forever? The moon shining on the snow? It all feels so primal somehow, so right. I feel like I “fit” here, don’t you?
It feels a little more honest out here. Away from all the forced cheer. I know you’re already feeling overwhelmed by Christmas racing at you and by expectations breathing down your neck. Rest your head on my shoulder, give me a second. Hear me out.
I want to say that it’s okay. It’s alright if you aren’t dazzled by the lights, the laughter and the music. It’s okay if you don’t feel like sparkling, if you don’t want to be at your best. If, rather than rush off to a party here and a party there, you would rather not rush anywhere at all, that’s just fine. If, rather than slipping on a glittering, elegant black dress and forcing a smile and conversation, you would rather wrap yourself up in a cozy sweater and sit by the window staring into the night, watching the snow fall, then go ahead.
It can still be magical. You have still caught the spirit of Christmas. I can see it in your eyes.
Think back to when you were a child. Hang on to the way you were back then and the way you waited so expectantly. Not for anything material, but for the feeling, the magic of Christmas Eve. Of colorful lights against the night sky; of trying to stay awake; of listening to the soft laughter and conversation drifting down the hallway to your room. The way you believed so fervently.
Try to remember that you are, now, under no obligation to anyone. You can say no to anything or anyone you want. You don’t have to write a hundred perfect Christmas cards or decorate if you don’t feel like it—or go to the office party if you’d rather stay home and watch It’s a Wonderful Life.
I want to tell you that it’s alright if your idea of a perfect Christmas is a quiet one.
If perfection, to you, is taking your dog for a walk in the evening and breathing in the cold night air. Or if it’s curling up with a fat book in your living room, with candles lit and the fire blazing. If perfection is in the silence and solitude of midnight mass.