Advent meditation

A pink bag full of rolls of wrapping paper hangs from the door handle of an upstairs room

I like to think of myself as a pretty consistent person. I look askance with a certain smugness at the behaviour, private and public, of certain prime ministers and presidents, confident that I am nothing like them in the way they say one thing and do another, their glaring, almost comical U-turns.

Christmas, specifically the waiting season of Advent, puts paid to my feelings of superiority.

Here are some of the things I have heard myself say during the last few Christmases:

I love Christmas.

I’ll be glad when it’s all over.

I hate Christmas music.

I can’t wait to shut the door on the whole world.

I’ve made you a Christmas playlist!

Why do we have to see them?

I don’t want anything.

You know we should go, it’ll be fun.

I wish I had a river I could skate away on.

That book would be nice.

Can’t we just skip it this year?

As you can see, quite a mass of contradictions and strong feelings, some or all of which, like a politician’s soundbite, may have been true at the time but which look like poor excuses when exposed in the daylight.

I am all of the people who said these things.

Like wearing my coat and hat indoors, like bringing a tree into my living space, like eating big meals at the wrong time of day, like speaking and writing to forgotten relatives, like listening to other people’s music, like a World Cup at the wrong time of the year, like a baby born to the wrong family, Christmas, the thing I love/hate/can’t wait for/want to skip/can’t do without, comes to me dressed in unfamiliar clothes, disrupts my life and my complacency and holds a steady mirror to my consistent inconsistency.


  1. Oh, Anthony, how well you have written about these odd feelings at this time of the year. Putting up the tree one moment and weeping the next. Trying to understand “Why?” Your fine words have given me much-needed insight into the answer to that.
    Thank you…Happy (or weepy) holidays, whatever feels right.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Somebody beat me to the Whitman quote but yes that! I suspect it’s the reason why you and your writing are so important and loved by so many people. Than you

    Liked by 1 person

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