Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An Epiphany on Christmas, in August

Last night, whilst bored out of my wits and my head ringing with an infernal headache, I took to perusing the television, as usual, to catch something--anything-- that would help relieve my boredom. It was ten in the evening, and the storm that lashed over Manila had almost gone, a perfect foil to an otherwise very welcome four day weekend. Spongebob Squarepants was not due for another hour, the History Channel was airing some loony program about ancient aliens, and I had missed the replay of one of my guilty pleasures (don't ask; it's a show on E!).

Perhaps it's simply the monotony of modern life, but I have been feeling very anxious as of late, all the more irritating because I could not exactly pinpoint its root cause-- if there is even one at all. I have not been feeling very religious lately; going to church seems to have taken a rather unpleasant affect for me, and even my prayers seem to have lost their meaning. To top it all off, the last ten days have been excruciatingly bad-- emotionally, spiritually, mentally. It was in such a mood-- festering, as it were, in an unbearable restlessness-- that I plopped myself in front of the TV.  And as I've already mentioned, channel after channel was airing the same old tripe, and not exactly the tripe I wanted to see.

I switched to the local channels, mindlessly flipping through them. I was about to switch the television off, when suddenly my ears were pricked by the sounds and words of a familiar song. Familiar, and still so very much out of season. "We Three Kings of Orient are/Bearing gifts we traverse afar/Field and fountain, moor and mountain/Following yonder Star!" Christmas songs in August! What an absurdity. The song was even accompanied by a montage of images whose very purpose were to recall a very White (as in WASP) Christmas: people in sweaters, burning logs, snow glimpsed through windows. I would have laughed if it weren't so strange.

But was it? In my toddler years, the run-up to December was always the most exciting part of the year for me. I was always fanatical about Christmas; I would slash away the dates on my calendar with a red marker and giggle excitedly and proclaim, with a voice sonorous as it was joyful, "Only 77 days to go till Christmas!" In my mind, the roughly one hundred and twenty days from the beginning of September to the end of December were golden, untouchable, and magical, and will always be: they represented the best of what humanity could offer, and hope in its pristine joyfulness. I sat for what seemed like half an hour just listening to the song, so familiar and yet thoroughly new as well, as if I were hearing it for the first time. And suddenly, I felt as if all will be all right. This darkness, too, shall pass-- as it always does, washed away by the warmth and joy of Christmas; by the hope that comes with the newborn babe, lying in the manger; by the cool December air, the taste of oatmeal raisin cookies, and yes, pretending to be WASPs for a day (or two) and dressing up in Ralph Lauren sweaters and putting red dots on our noses. The song finally ended, and all I could think of was how beautiful it was-- and how the days were going to be a little more exciting, now that September has come knocking on threshold.

It is the 31st of August, and yes, Christmas is coming. I feel it in the air, smell it in the kitchen, hear it in the malls, and taste it in my bones. The golden days are coming, and the muck of the past and all its mistakes and sins and secret lusts would be swept away. Tomorrow is the 1st of September; just one more sleep, and it will be Christmas again.


Anonymous said...

Really nice post. Though, I don't know what to think about "guilty pleasures" :P

Archistrategos said...

Goodness, just noticed how many grammatical errors I've committed in this post. Shall remedy asap.

Oh and I guess that I'm very easy to entertain?lol