In New York City the bars close at 4 a.m. and in my youth I closed my fair share. By the time I reached home in Brooklyn it was often 5 a.m. I discovered that 5 a.m. is a special time in New York. It’s as quiet a time as you will ever find in the city that never sleeps. Because most people are in bed, or maybe just having their morning coffee. If you see someone on the street it is often a solitary jogger, perhaps enjoying that same silence in their own way. I came to love that quiet, when the sounds of the city almost ceased.
That’s what my mamma used to call that constant hustle and bustle that she could hear over the phone line during our chats. And though eventually I stopped hearing it on a conscious level, I never stopped appreciating the silence of 5 a.m. Almost as if I could be more myself then, create better art, write better sentences because I was not being bombarded with the energies of however many millions of people shared those scant few square miles. My love of the desert comes from a similar place. There is just so much land, so much openness, so much quiet expanse.
Walking the beastie today I was reminded of that 5 a.m. silence. Not because he was being good and peaceful, but because across the slightly frozen crust of snow blanketing my neighborhood, every single sound was amplified. The poor thing was slightly beside himself. But it got me to thinking about the Christmas blog that my CMO put on my to-do list. So that got me to thinking about the Christ story and I decided that, despite its probable historical inaccuracy, winter time is the perfect time to celebrate His birth.
Easter is bombastic...it should take place in spring, when every nook, cranny, seed and bulb is bursting into life. It is divinity ascending.
But Christmas is about divinity made human. It is about taking perfection and pouring it into an imperfect vessel. And this wasn’t done with fanfare and pomp into a royal man-child who would be pretty and grand their whole life long. It was a quiet birth. Just your average Jill and Joe making a go of it on a tradesman’s salary. What wonderful pieces of the puzzle for the universe to grant all of us. If only we can see how to best fit them together with love as the end-goal.
I think, if you were so inclined, now would be the perfect time to find Christ. It is good weather for it. Cold and just a little daunting, with the trees and the sky and the grass playing their part as a minimalist landscape. It isn’t during the happy ease of summer but, to borrow a phrase, during the winter of our discontent that we turn inward to mine for our soul. Strip away the trappings (think about the root of that word) of the material world and get down to the humble, bareboned beginnings. And in doing so, we might just meet our sacred. And from that, come to desire to touch the larger sacred, the universal sacred. And Christ-love is a good way to love. To love the spark in people, nurture it, help it to grow; venerate those that it is easy to ignore or be unkind to.
But with the hustle and bustle slowed to heartfelt intimate gatherings and slumberings at home in pj’s, it is also a good time of the year to settle into and savor the root based, rich and earthy notes of love. The yummy matrix from which it all grows. Home, hearth, simplicity. Opportunities abounding to love friends, family and perfect strangers. It is, indeed, a most wonderful time of the year.
And into this season, my favorite season, I send into the universe a wish for each and everyone of us: Merry Christ-mass, Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year.