I thought I could still sit on Santa's Lap even though I look like him now
This will be my last true Christmas. I say this because this house, my house, the house I've lived in since I was 2 years old will be put on the market in a matter of months. And when we leave it behind we not only leave marks on door frames where we measured me and my brother's heights, and secret spots where we burried our treasures and forgot about them, but I will be saying goodbye to the Christmas I know and love.
What's a Jew talking about Christmas for? Well, I guess that does require a little explanation. My mother's family all the way back to the 1800's on the North Shore of the Chicago 'burbs started to celebrate Christmas because their "forward thinking" Rabbi decided it would be a good idea for his "flock" to assimilate into their new culture. This was just as most them had landed fresh off the boat from Germany and surrounding areas. After all, around that time Christmas had been declared a federal holiday, the first and only religious holiday to be recognized as a federal one to this day (I think I mentioned that in a comment to RB's xmas blog). And it was practiced by my mother's great great grandparents, great grandparents, grandparents, parents, herself, and now me and my brother. We're a secular clan, the Schwarz's, so we don't have the complexity to deal with "cheating" on our real God when we do this. But for the first time it seemed hard to explain last night to a Jewish friend of mine who is of the practicing kind, a true believer of YHWH (she'll probably be mad at me for spelling that out). I think she finally understood what I believed, that we've taken an idea about peace and love and family and sharing and caring that had been concentrated into a religious holiday and absorbed it into our own way of celebrating those same values. But no way was she going to be OK with it. We basically celebrate Christmas the same way everyone celebrates Thanksgiving, but this time, there's a tree, and angels, and a star, and Bing Crosby singing with David Bowie. My mother's favorite type of music is Gregorian chants and traditional Christmas music. It's weird, some may call it hypocritical, but it's what we do, it's a Schwarz tradition, and I've loved every minute of it.
Which brings me back to my original point. Every Christmas morning the family would gather at the top of our stairs in ascending order of age, my brother in the front, my dad in the back (grandma behind him when she could make it to Chappaqua from Baltimore - Hi Grandma!) and we'd all go down slowly to start off with but by the time the choo choo train was nearing the bottom Noah and I were falling over each other racing for the presents. And now, in about 5 minutes, we'll be doing this for the last time. I know, I know, I'm 27, what are we still doing this for? Because it's what Schwarz's do best,
and I'll miss it. I just wanted to share this last minute of magic with you all in hopes you can take it with you and make it a part of your Christmas time as I hope to carry some idea of it with me to my new home, wherever it may be.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good life!