14 December 2013

The Weary World Rejoices

My favorite Christmas song of all time has to be "O Holy Night." I may not be so sure about this Jesus fellow, but I know beautiful language when I hear it, and this song... this song gets me every time.

"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices/ For yonder breaks a new and glorious morning./ Fall on your knees/ O hear the angel's voices./ O night divine!"

The weary world rejoices. That line right there is probably one of the most gorgeous I know. This year that line resonates with me in a special way because truly, this year I am weary.

I am always in low spirits in November and December--I drive to work in the dark, I come home in the dark, I don't sleep, the grind if grading is at the highest point, and (let's face it) students are crabby. This year, on top of that, my husband and I are planning a move three days after Christmas while simultaneously attempting to pay off the last of our dreamy European vacation in July. The bills and stress are piling up and my desk in my home office is covered in freshmen papers on To Kill a Mockingbird. One of the worst things about being an adult is that Christmas ceases to be the magical time of excitement it was when you were little and becomes a pressure-filled month of planning and spending.

I'll say it again--I am weary.

Although my husband and I don't celebrate the religious nature of the holiday (and yes, I know some people would have something to say about that, but that's for another post), we still go all out at this time. In fact, we go all out for precisely the reason I just said: I (we) are weary.

I've discovered that there is no better time to celebrate beauty and light and life than when weariness settles deep into your bones. There is no time it is more important to remind yourself that rejoicing is still possible than when you find yourself in the middle of the darkest part of a journey. No time requires fall-to-your-knees-appreciation more than when you find yourself overburdened by the demands of life, forgetting its joys.

I can't pretend this Christmas will be the most relaxing. Moving and money have effectively taken care of that. But I am determined to rejoice and believe that a new morning is breaking. I am determined to appreciate what I have; after all, I might be still paying for that five-star hotel on the Rue de Bac, but I wouldn't trade those seven days exploring Paris for anything. The bills will get paid, the move will happen and summer will eventually arrive, allowing me to sleep and pee whenever I want. So I will rejoice. That's the spirit of Christmas; the world rejoices for one beautiful moment and refuses to let the darkness win.

That's the magic of Christmas.