Holiday Evolution 

On Christmas Eve I attended a little get together with my neighbors. I made an entire chocolate peanut butter poke cake and ended up bringing 2/3 of it back with me, so that tells you everything you need to know about that shindig. It was a good idea in theory, but a total bust. That’s Christmas in The Manoverse nowadays. 

I’ve written about the traditional Italian Fish Fest that was a Christmas Eve constant throughout my childhood and into middle age, first at my grandparents house then hosted by my aunt for the past couple of decades. Sadly that gathering “ended” a few years ago…my inclusion in it anyway. I’ll leave it at that. C’est la vie. I always hoped I’d find a lovely wife, have a couple of kids, and serve fish to our extended family at my house, but that dream never came true, which is my responsibility.

In 2021 I attended a couple of quite lovely church services on Christmas Eve, and had intended to go to one this year. Unfortunately Mother Nature decided to rear her ugly head. I am not a fan of cold, ice, & snow. They say discretion is the better part of valor, so I decided to be mature & stay home. Or maybe I’m just trying to justify being lazy. I hope God understands. 

Instead of venturing out into the wintry landscape I stayed home with RedZone & my Steelers. There was a full slate of games in the afternoon, then the Steelers played the Raiders in the nightcap, celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Immaculate Reception & retiring the recently departed Franco Harris’ #32 in the process. They won with a thrilling last minute touchdown, which sadly was the highlight of my Christmas weekend. 

It wasn’t the Christmas Eve I loved for most of my life, but it wasn’t too bad. Christmas Day?? Well, that was kind of tough. 

I don’t want to paint the wrong picture of my nuclear family. We love each other, and we’re close. That being said, a variety of circumstances have altered our Christmas celebration thru the years. I won’t bore y’all with details, but suffice to say I spent the day in solitude watching Christmas movies and a little bit of football. No one is at fault…it’s just how life has happened. 

Having said all of that, my mind wanders to much sadder holidays spent in hospitals & “skilled” nursing facilities. As uneventful as it was this year was so much better than any of that. My father has always opined that there is a difference between being alone & being lonely. Am I lonely?? Perhaps a little. Do I wish I had a lovely lady in my life & some kids running around?? Sure. Would it have been fun to attend a big gathering full of food, music, and mirth?? Of course. But that’s not my life, and that’s okay. The choices are looking pretty slim for New Year’s as well, so I’ll probably end up doing the same thing, which is fine. I really do think God has an impish sense of humor. I captioned a photo of my goofy neighbor last New Year’s Eve “I’m hoping for a younger, prettier, more feminine date next NY Eve”, but the joke’s on me…even he has plans this year, so it’s either go to a party by myself or stay home & watch the College Football Playoff.

At any rate, I feel oddly peaceful about these circumstances because I understand how much worse it could be. I am also blessed to know that Christmas isn’t about gifts or any of the other stuff we get caught up stressing over. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, who would grow up to permanently change the world & die for my sins, paving the way for an eternal life I certainly do not deserve. Come on…the Steelers, eggnog, Ralphie Parker & George Bailey, eternity with Jesus…how cool is that?? It was certainly a Christmas worthy of celebration. 

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