Driving from one roast beef dinner to another on the day after Christmas we heard an early acoustic version of one of my favorite songs, “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by the Police.
The stripped down version was a little creepy and certainly felt like it was lacking something as Sting meandered through those “thousand rainy days since we first met.” Suddenly there was real sorrow in being turned on and you wonder what quality of love it is that will “go on and on and on.”
It was the other side of unrequited passion, the sort with a raspy throat after too many lonely tears. There is such bitter joy in watching the beloved from afar, because as magic as she may be, it is so wasted at a distance from the man who pines for her.
What a meditation on sorrow in the afterglow of a Christmas surrounded by family and feasting and a midnight mass with comforting carols and radiant poinsettias and glowing evergreens!
Perhaps it makes sense that this Christmas would seem a little subdued to me and I would find messages in an introspective, alternate take of a rock song. This year I approached December 25th with a new reverence as I began to understand what Mary giving birth to Jesus really means for me. I set much of the maddened consumer rush aside, and found my holiday in meditation and prayer, not in a roll of gift wrap.
This sense of slowing things down and tasting the real essence of Christmas rather than being distracted by the icing on the gingerbread men offers so much, but it also forces you to gaze into some of the shadows of self and family life that are usually disguised by trimmings and bows and those extra few glasses of wine. I’m not going to get into my own dramas here, but I am sure that we all have years when the unexpected confronts us and what we expect to be most magical evening of the year becomes an opportunity to practice all that we have learned the rest of the year.
Recognizing that everyone is entitled to their own complexity and respecting the universe within them.
Acting with compassion as your guide rather than operating under the illusions of expectation and entitlement.
Finding peace in stillness rather than the laughter of the crowd.
Not being afraid of the spaces between notes or the pauses between conversations.
Trusting that everything is going to be alright.
And, most of all, remembering that everything She does really is magic and believing in a little divine intervention to keep the familial ship afloat.
Oh, and finding the happy, well-known version of your favorite song featuring short shorts and funny hats just might just might help too!