Destination: Christmas #4

This Christmas series is brought to you thanks to Book Riot’s Literary Advent Calendar. It’s a combination of poetry, short stories, and essays. I’ll be posting every day, some days twice to keep up with my regular posts. Click the story title for the full text. Now, let’s get this Christmas show on the road!

Day 4

Toward the Winter Solstice by Timothy Steele

Hello, readers! Friday is almost over, but the weekend has just begun! What better way to end the beginning than with some poetry? Because that’s the kind of stuff that happens in poems, right? Sure.

I read this poem a couple of times, then I looked for the date thinking it’d be something fairly recent. It was actually written in 1948, which is impressive because it feels like it could be happening next door. The SUVs flocking to expensive restaurants, spilling their human insides onto the pavement for family night. The UPS trucks going back and forth delivering packages filled with Black Friday loot and prematurely bought Christmas presents. It feels like a poem written for today, written for this very moment in time.

He says nothing changes and, while that may be true for the actions and the circumstances, there is a quiet peace in that poem that is absent in our lives today. That melting pot that casually accepts Christmas has become a melting pot for hatred and fear. Where neighbor fears neighbor and everyone is slightly afraid of everyone else, worried about what they hide under turbans and robes and ill concealed gun holsters. Wary of commenting or critiquing on something as innocuous as Christmas lights because it could lead down ugly roads. You could start an argument or worse, a friendly relationship with your neighbor.

I’m sure this poem is meant to be more uplifting. Something about the pleasantness of this neighborhood, the spirit of Christmas that blooms even in big, bad L.A. The Silent Night that still rings true even though the magi have been replaced by UPS. But, to be honest, it just makes think about how much Christmas has changed and how meaningless it becomes for people as the years go by.

I love Christmas, I love the smell of pine trees and the decorations, I even love Christmas music! But sometimes it’s hard to keep up the Holiday cheer in the midst of all the stuff that happens. What I’m saying is sometimes life gets in the way of Christmas and it’s up to us whether to let it go or hold on to it. I tumble between one and the other, depending on what’s happening. But my heart always lifts when I hear a Christmas song or the smell of pine hits my nose. Maybe he’s right, maybe even though everything changes, something always stay the same.

What do you think, readers? Is Christmas what it used to be? I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Until next time, stay cool.

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