A deep and dreamless sleep

I forgot the rum-spiked egg nog tonight and the peppermint ice cream.

The champagne was a bust. It turned out not to be champagne. It was a sweet, sparkly after-dinner wine. Not a hit. Alex's Christmas pies were though, as was his mom's Christmas pave, which should never be compared to tiramisu, a rather non-event dessert, beccause it's so much better. Dara identified the central problem with tiramisu: tons of sweet stuff, none of them chocolate.

It's quiet now. Christmakah Eve is almost over. I read "The Night Before Christmas" to Wally for the first time tonight. My sister has it memorized but I always start to drift off around Mama in her kerchief. It's really a mouthful, dry leaves flying around before the hurricane, mounting to the sky. Wally wondered why the daddy is wearing dress pajamas. "Daddy's don't wear dress pajamas". Not anymore. A few astute readers drew attention to the whimsy of fashion on the post about Wally's adventures in lace, pointing out that emperors of the past and Scotsmen of today pranced or prance about in outfits far more flamboyant than Wally's purple ruffled skirt.

When I think about it, Jesus is never pictured in pants. Then again he wasn't blue eyed and blond-haired either, so perhaps his fabled garb should not be accepted as sancrosanct.

I was thinking about wandering after yesterday's post. Who wandered around in the desert? Jesus? The Israelites? ("Everybody in the Bible", Alex is saying, "It's all desert.") Mary and Joseph weren't wandering; they came to Bethlehem on purpose, to register for the census (Thanks Jeannine). Then of course there was no room at the inn (the only one in town, apparently), so they became drifters, squatting in the local stable. It turned out to be a rather cozy place.

The Shepherds in the nearby fields were alarmed by the angel of the Lord who came bearing news. The angel told them not to be afraid. A babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, would be their Savior. Then the multitudes were praising God, and hoping for peace for humanity.

In the song, "A little town in Bethlehem" why is it a dreamless sleep? In "A Night Before Christmas" dreams of sugar-plums fill their heads. If you can channel dreams into reality, imagination into history, fancy into wish-fulfillment, maybe the dreams find a different place to occupy. My favorite part in Clement Clarke Moore's poem is about settling down for a long winter's nap. Of course that's when the clatter arises; the dream of a long winter's nap fading to stardust.

No matter how old I get---no matter how hard it is to believe the things I wish I could---on Christmas Eve, something from that old dream endures. "The hopes and fears of all the year are met in thee tonight." It doesn't matter what we believe, with a story so embedded in our culture, fabric, way of acting, way of being, our hopes and fears will naturally converge upon it. Upon both what it is, and how we imagine it to be. On earth peace, and good will to men. Christmas still feels like it's about that heart-bursting-out-of-your-chest sense of hope. I can't think of something I'd hope for more.


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