Comfort and Joy


I had forgotten about the lights, so when I got up at 4:30am to go to the bathroom, there was something festive about seeing them draped around the windows and pictures hanging in the upstairs hallway.  Downstairs the outdoor lights lit up the back porch like a colorful full moon.

Yesterday after signing the papers at our lawyers office, reaffirming our mortgage and basically assuring, as much as anything is certain, that we’d be keeping our house after going bankrupt, I wasn’t feeling the relief or sense of celebration I thought I might.  But I had already felt weeks ago when we got the email  that the bank had accepted our offer.   So signing the papers, though legally  binding, seemed to me just a formality.  In my mind it was already done.  It was made real in my body when I scraped  the old linoleum off the kitchen countertops and painted them in an act of ownership.

I didn’t get to my studio yesterday.  After getting back from the lawyers,  I spent most of the afternoon balancing checkbooks and paying bills. Then, sometime after 8pm I found myself taking out the Christmas lights and stringing them around the house, inside and out.   But it wasn’t about Christmas as I’ve come to define it. I was lighting up the darkness.

I ‘d been thinking all day about what I read to  Jon  from “The Pagan Book of Days”.   About the traditional celebrations of the  solar deities the “Undefeated Sun” on the 25th of December, which is  the end of the calendar year in the goddess tradition of Astraea.  Not only did it all finally make sense to me, but the idea  got under my skin.  Or maybe it just got reawakened.

I’ve had that book for over 20 years, read those pages about the month of December many times, but never felt it the way I did yesterday.  I think I had to give up Christmas in order to understand what it meant to me. Because for me, the idea of the birth of the undefeated sun couldn’t compete with the madness of  shopping and decorations, cookies and gifts, which clouded my heart and mind.

I got back into bed snuggled up to Jon’s warm body and sang outloud the carol that’s been rattling around in my head for days.  God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay, remember Christ our savior was born on Christmas day to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray oh tidings of comfort and joy… then Jon sang too…comfort and joy, oh tidings of comfort and joy.

For the first time I understood the words to that song.  And comfort and Joy, I can do that.

8 thoughts on “Comfort and Joy

  1. Maria, celebrations come in many forms. I am relieved for you both and I, too, light up the darkness here an hour north of Toronto where our nights are longer than our days at this time of year. Tiny white lights light up our evergreen tree installed outside our familyroom sliding glass door, suet and feed for the birds are installed on the tree, the dogs are fascinated to have a front row seat watching them come to the tree. Tiny lights illuminate the bannister going up to our second story in the house. All of this, not in celebration of the Christmas season but to light up our lives. I didn’t have the words for this until you wrote about it, so thank you Maria, Thank you, Jon, for your unfailingly uplifting words throughout a time when your life was spiralling down, you managed to keep many others spirits up during this very difficult time, yourself. I guess the gift of Christmas is truly in the giving, not of monetary gifts but of ourselves. The bank and your lawyer proved this in finality, this week.
    Sandy P.

  2. Maria, I love this post as it is so you. The undefeated sun, the celebration and lights all over the place. We have white “twinkie” lights up year round in our house and on some grapevine swags on our side porch.

  3. Glad you feel the meaning. To me it’s not about mentally understanding a thing, it’s about feeling a thing in your soul. Happy Solstice:)

  4. I love how you have taken something that held no personal meaning or joy (like Christmas), and reworked into something beautiful and celebratory. It is wonderful to see when a person can remake something beautiful out of something not so beautiful. That is the artist in you!

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