Monday, December 26, 2005

Our Lady of Crimbo

What a difference a day makes.

Confession time: I was trying to keep things light and objective on my blog, just because I don't want to be a downer for other people, but my Christmas, apart from remembering and giving thanks for its spiritual significance, was not a good one. I spent much of Christmas Eve feeling extremely alone and sad; then around midnight we had a momentarily frightening Falling Incident at our house (no injuries this time, thank God, unlike last Christmas Eve when my mother fell in church and broke her wrist, and we spent the wee hours in the hospital ER); and I got through Christmas Day mostly through grim "git 'er done" determination.

But today was my day. I got out of the house and out of town for a few hours, with no real itinerary, and felt my body unclenching for the first time in about a week. I found myself, despite the overcast skies and rain-mottled landscape, enjoying things -- the perfect tiered symmetry of the black spruce, and the startling coral of Michigan holly berries, growing in swampy forest bordering the highway; Dutch belted cattle, like walking Oreos, in a pasture; the Amish girl I encountered at Meijer's, expertly maneuvering the computer touchpad at the self-checkout; Eric Clapton's greatest hits on the stereo at my food coop, and the lemony cream of Swiss chard soup I had there at lunch.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was in a churchyard on the main street of a village near here. It was a nativity scene -- one of those pastel, cartoony plastic ones, a little worse for wear. The figure of Mary had fallen flat on her back, and now her praying hands were seemingly beseeching the skies for help. I had to laugh out loud when I saw it. That could be me, I thought.

The I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up Mary is a wonderful icon for those of us who have a rough time during the holidays; who get stressed out and worn out and disappointed by what my Brit friends call Crimbo -- all the frenzied, distracting, non-Christocentric stuff surrounding Christmas.

And what's great about the Church calendar is that those of us who keep it still have eleven days of Christmas left to adore the Holy Child of Bethlehem -- eleven days now unencumbered by to-do lists, social obligations, deadlines and unrealistic expectations of a Hallmark-card holiday.

Our Lady of Crimbo, pray for us every Christmas.


bls said...

I'm glad you feel better today. (Your birthday, yes?)

I love to drive to nowhere, too, and it always picks me up. I love driving in the country especially.

For some reason, Crimbo doesn't seem to affect me much - or at least it didn't, this year. Maybe because I never really had much of a Hallmark thing going in real life, and never expected that much from Christmas. (I did have all those "to-do lists," though, and pretty much flunked the whole exercise. Still have some residual guilt.)

But also, I was lucky and had a beautiful, beautiful Midnight Mass to go to; that probably would have helped you, too. Well, just as you say, it's only the second day of Christmas today, and these days are calming ones. I'm lucky, too, that I have the whole week off and can finally rest a little and get some things done around the house.

Glad you feel a little more relaxed. You remind me that I want to go driving to look for eagles along the Delaware this week....

LutheranChik said...'s my birthday. (Beatlian guitar and drum riff in the background.) I think I'm regressing -- in addition to the day trip, I gave myself some PJ's and an old-fashioned stovetop popcorn popper. Now all I need is a turntable, Twister and some 45's, and I can throw a par-tay!;-)

bls said...

I have a turntable. Of course, it hasn't actually turned since about 1985.

Well, H.B.T.Y., anyway. And enjoy the popcorn!

dulciana said...

I found your post particularly evocative since I had a fall myself on Christmas eve - a particularly public one at a store while I was in full crimbo. I think that next year, I'll just turn the Mary in my nativity set on her back as a reminder.

Kathryn said...

I love this...Our Lady of Crimbo must indeed be evoked each year, and perhaps we'll all get through!
Meanwhile, have a happy birthday, doing stuff for you as far as you humanly can, and know that your friends appreciate you hugely.
Birthday love x

LutheranChik said...

bls: Actually, I don't have any records either. I gave them to our church yard sale the first year I hooked up with that bunch;-)...and our pastor bought the whole lot. I'd combined my LPs and my dad's old collection, so he went home with a strange assortment of album rock, classical music and things like Marv Herzog and the Bavarian Polka Boys. anything like "Motown's Greatest Hits" to go with your turntable?;-)

Dulciana and Kathryn: I wish that I had had my camera handy to take a picture of Our Lady...words don't give the actual sight justice. It was just hilarious. My mother said, "Didn't you want to stop and pick her up?" I thought it was a kind of prophetic sign.;-)

bls said...

" anything like "Motown's Greatest Hits" to go with your turntable?;-)"

Well, I've got "Every Great MoTown Hit of Marvin Gaye" on CD. That's pretty close, dontcha think?

LutheranChik said...