12.26.2005

O Night, Divine

Joyful joy joy Christmukkah in Newport here, where my bags of clothes and presents all got lost on the flight (USAir out of Philadelphia is like that, always) and they finally arrived here at 12:05 AM on the 26th, several borrowed dress-up outfits later... the worst of it was actually that I really very much wanted to give those gifts, as that is the central appeal of Christmas.

But then I realize that there are real problems in the world. I was already feeling mournful over the tsunami, and wishing I had some proper memorials to attend, when I heard about the shooting of Pararajasingham at effing MIDNIGHT MASS. It hurts my heart (and this is a measly little emotional handwringing that I'm going to do here) to think about the advent of war, or something like it, just a year from the tsunami. As Indi says, no one really says the word "war" any longer, because what would be the point?

Over the appropriately lavish and beautiful Christmas dinner this evening, I felt hollow with guilt inside the wine's flush and the conversation's bubble: not that we (in our family, or our country) are such bad people or that we purposely choose waste and ignorance, no, just the central pointless bitterness of It's So Unfair.

I enjoyed (hugely) this weekend's celebrations, the service at church last night ("We pray for our president, George... May the Lord have mercy.") and the caroling, the midnight bells, the eggnog in my morning tea, the lovely soft sweaters that the Jenkins women are always giving each other. To hear of a(nother) major assassination in SL and the slow stalemated slipperyslope business there is just a tremor in the heart of my hopes for the season and the New Year: that we might have had a bad enough year, as a whole, to fix some things in the future.

Meant to write recently and in fact I have two posts half-written but I haven't had a day off work for the last two weeks. It's been wall-to-wall retail/mail order, which has forever poisoned my love for hokey holiday tunes and padded self-stick envelopes. On the other hand, now it's over and I appreciate the hours of leisure that much more. There was plum pudding tonight, and the weather is nice. Never mind the sorely chapped hands and bleary eyes and poor skin of the last three weeks.

I am lucky and got some great presents: holiday sweaters, two types of Lapsang Souchong, an insulated travel mug, and a supersoft towel. There should be some productive/expressive way to be grateful for the blessings in my life and the people who make it so. It is hard to explain how I miss SL at this point--suffice it to say that there is no one to remember with, here. I miss it.

The miracle of the Christ Child, thinks the Jewish girl (upon some churchtime reflection) is not about virginity--a textual misinterpretation--or about God's love made flesh, it's about the trite and unfathomable truth that one person from the dregs of poverty can really make a difference in the world. I haven't a lot more in order to say, so: good night, and peace be with you.

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ashanthi said...

I met both Joseph & his wife this year. They were just an amazing couple. He would not leave his constituents & she would not leave him.

I asked them to get out. Telling them that they were too old now but - he continued to do heaps of work. He specifically tried to get women & girls to bring rape charges to court. He was telling me how hard it was because of the stigma associated in our culture with being raped.

I must say - I don't think I've ever had a Christmas like this. Last year the horror of the Tsunami only just began to dawn on me - so it was different. This year I feel drained & exhausted.

Then to find that in SL people have so little respect for spirituality that they commit murder in a church. Anyway, let's get real, whole masacres have happened in Tamil churches.

Still - it's lovely to read your perspective. I'm hoping that Joseph's wife will survive. I'm very concerned about her being in Batticola. But I sincerely hope she lives to tell the story.

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