Usually I'm that really annoying hyper-Christmas person who starts working Boney M. and Michael W. Smith into the music rotation in the middle of August. But this year, it's already Christmas Day and I'm still not feeling it.
It was an awful year. It was right around this time of year that I heard from Brittney for the very last time -- although I didn't know it. It was at Christmas 2014 that I last saw my cousin, my aunt, the family friend we lost, and an entire family unit out of our extended family -- we didn't know it then either. I distinctly remember my uncle hugging me after our family Christmas last year and telling me to 'be good' -- his usual way of saying goodbye. Less than a month later, he left his wife, God abandoned me, and so began the Year From Hell.
How do you celebrate Christmas when the loving family who swore they'd love each other and stick together through thick and thin is either dead, banished, or not speaking to each other?
Peace on earth and good will to men.
This year I learnt that despite all my extended family's insistence to the contrary, their love for each other is EXTREMELY fickle. And if these people are willing to leave spouses and children, if they are willing to skip freaking Christmas after a year like this because of some spat with some in-law, how much longer until it's me they're leaving? How long until they tell me they don't love me anymore, the same way they're telling everyone else? How do you expect me, your niece, to believe you care for me and want the best for me when you are willing to walk out on your own spouse just because you decided you didn't like them anymore?
Does anybody not see what is wrong with this?
Title: Where Are You Christmas
Artist: The Piano Guys
Album: A Family Christmas
iTunes here; YouTube here.
This arrangement is a prime example of when the beautiful is so lovely is also makes one sad -- or at least melancholy. It's an experience that's getting more and more rare these days, but one that really should be getting more frequent. There's 'sad because it's so awful,' there's 'sad because the lyrics are sad,' there's 'sad because of extenuating circumstances,' but this is the increasingly rare 'sad because of its sheer beauty.' The piano melody throughout the piece gets me every time. And then the girl's plaintive voice comes in with that question: where are you, Christmas? and it somehow sounds just like me.
What happened to Christmas with all my aunt and uncles laughing, with the voices of all of the children ringing happily off the ceiling? What happened to Christmas where love pervaded the room and not an awkward tiptoeing around pretty much every single subject we always used to talk about?
Death happens. I get that. My cousin didn't really have a choice in the matter. But divorce -- that's another story. That's your own selfish choice. That is a very clear message that the people you said you committed to don't matter. You committed to me. Don't I matter?
I can never be assured of that again.