As we add felt ornaments to the Advent calendar, my son becomes more and more excited about Christmas.
He jumps around and his face lights up; he is excited about all the gifts and at that moment, he looks like any other third grader.
Today, the excitement lasted only a short time before the serious questions started.
“Will there be people who die even on Christmas?”
I was listening to his question and unloading the dishwasher at the same time. “Yes, unfortunately.” I continued to unload the dishes, sorting them on the counter into piles as I went.
“Will the earth continue to get warmer even on Christmas?”
Now, this question made me stop the sorting of silverware and turn to him.
“What did you say?”
“I said…Will the earth continue to get warmer even on Christmas?”
“According to some scientists, it will.”
I watched my son’s face as I shared my response. His facial expression showed that he wasn’t happy with my answer.
“Why are you asking?”
“If Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, why don’t those things stop for just one day?”
He seemed like one of the wise men as he said this with a most serious expression. He is always thinking.
I had to smirk a little though. I couldn’t help it; he used air quotes as he said “happiest time of the year.”
I sighed. I wanted him to know that I took his thoughts seriously and I walked over and hugged him. “It is hard to think about, but Christmas can’t be perfect for everyone.”
My TBP is at the age where he wants to believe in all of the magic, but it doesn’t intellectually make sense. For the last couple of years, we have been bombarded with all the ways that Santa simply can’t be true.
“He can’t travel everywhere in one night?”
“How would he really know if everyone has been naughty or nice?”
“Wouldn’t there be physical evidence of the reindeer? Duh. Poop?!”
I understand. We all want a magical Christmas. We want that day to be off-limits for sadness and grief.
Many years ago, we lost my Grandfather at Christmas time. I still remember that it was hard to celebrate. All of a sudden, the special foods and our thoughtfully selected and carefully wrapped presents seemed out-of-place.
It was hard. It was hard for a few years.
This year, I hope for a joyous Christmas. Not just for my family, but for yours.