Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

This may be the strangest Christmas I've ever had. We usually switch off on holidays, spending one Christmas with my parents in New York and the next with Andy's family in West Virginia. This year, our year to be in WV, we have a wedding to go to on New Year's Eve. It would have seemed like a loooooong trip if we'd gone to WV on the 23rd like we usually do, so we decided to spend Christmas by ourselves and go to WV on the 27th.

We put up our tree a few weeks ago like usual, but it seemed a little hollow. We did a tree last year when I was pregnant with Joseph, and even though we didn't have children yet, it didn't seem weird. This year, decorating for Christmas felt a little bit pointless. I keep thinking that Christmas is really for kids, and we don't have any. Of course, I didn't realize this until I'd made Andy drag the tree and all the ornaments up from the basement, so we put it up anyway.

Last night I wanted to go to church, something I haven't done in a long time. I was raised Catholic, but I don't really consider myself religious anymore. But even though I disagree with almost everything about the church, I always loved going on Christmas Eve. I loved the decorations, the music (religious carols are so moving...the secular ones do nothing for me) and the feeling of solemn anticipation. So this year, we decided to go to the church across the street, which we've never set foot in despite living here for more than two years.

I wanted to go to midnight mass, but this church didn't have one, so we went to the 6:30 p.m. service. It turned out to the the service where the children of the parish did a little pageant - while the priest read the Jesus story from the Gospel, the children acted it out. They were adorable...they were in costume, and at the end of the reading, they all stayed in their tableau while the singer sang "Silent Night." I don't know what exactly happened, but suddenly I was sobbing; that carol has always made me tear up anyway, but seeing all those children and hearing the song about the birth of a child just broke my heart. It never occurred to me before how much of Christmas is about babies, and birth, and the anticipation of birth.

The other strange thing was that other than that, whatever I was hoping to feel at the service didn't happen. It left me as cold as church on any other Sunday does, which made me sad. The last time I felt the way I wanted to feel in church last night was when I used to sing with my college choir and we did our big Christmas concert. So I think from now on, instead of going to church, we'll just go to that. I'm glad I went last night, because it made me realize that I'm just not Catholic anymore. I'm not sure exactly what I believe, but when I go to church, I feel nothing.

After church we went out to dinner; we had wanted to try a new Middle Eastern place, but they were closed, so we ended up at a Chinese restaurant in Cambridge. It was delicious, and we were one of only two tables in the entire place, which felt weird but not in an entirely bad way (Andy, the hermit, was in heaven).

This morning the cats gave me their Christmas presents (nearly simultaneous yakking - thanks, just what I wanted!) and then we exchanged our own gifts. I'd gotten Andy tickets to see the Dave Brubeck Quartet; the show isn't until June, which prompted Andy to say he hoped Dave Brubeck would still be alive by then. Assuming he is, I think I'll make reservations at a downtown hotel and a nice restaurant and make a whole evening of it. I'm generally a rather uninspired gift-buyer, but I was proud of this one. My gifts from Andy were the professional-grade hair straightener my cousin the newly minted hairdresser recommended; it sounds like an unromantic gift, but I really wanted it, and it works great. He also gave me a Maneki Neko - ever seen those little cat statues in Japanese restaurants? They're supposed to be good-luck charms; Andy had seen one in a store window in Chinatown and said he just had to have it for me. I think we could use some good luck in this house, no?
It's sunny and fairly warm here; I took the cat for a walk (don't ask) and we sat outside for a little while and watched the people go in and out of the church; I love seeing little kids in their Christmas outfits. In a little while we're going to see the Chronicles of Narnia movie, and then we'll make dinner. We had a brief panic last night when we realized we had completely flaked on going to the grocery store - we'd had grandiose ideas of making a roast or steaks or some kind of fancy dinner, but by the time we thought of it, on the way home last night, all the grocery stores were closed, and we'd used up most of what was in the fridge over the last few days since we're going to be gone for a week. We had about resigned ourselves to eating frozen turkey burgers and tater tots (hey, Christmas turkey!) but at the last minute, we found some canned tomatoes, so we're having chicken Parmesan and spaghetti with homemade sauce. Could be worse.

Not the world's most ideal Christmas, but we have each other, and we have the Pad, and that's the best we can do for now. I have high hopes for 2006.


At Monday, December 26, 2005 7:44:00 PM, Blogger Mrs.X said...

Despite the moments of panic, you had something very wonderful. Eachother and hope.
Merry Christmas NK...

At Wednesday, December 28, 2005 1:04:00 PM, Blogger Holly Golightly said...

I'm also hoping for a happy 2006 - for you and for me. The past year has been weird and sad, and the Christmas felt empty for us too. It does help that I'm pregnant, but I still wished that Isaac was there with us. Of course, he wasn't.

At Thursday, December 29, 2005 12:12:00 AM, Blogger Reed said...

Don't forget to thank your guests. The perfect favors for the perfect
wedding. Your Wedding Store


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