(Soundtrack: Ella Fitzgerald — Ella Wishes You a Swingin' Christmas)
Well, it's only December 2nd and already I'm giving up on "Yule-blogging" for this year... (last year I lasted eight days!) Too much to do! Very sad--because I still love this time of year as much as I ever did, back when I had my nine-year old brother Matt convinced that our dog Shelly was an elf (she used her whiskers to transmit reports on his conduct back to The Pole) and that magical things really do happen on Christmas Eve (like: everyone stays sober this year...and, for once, the only family member in danger of melting down will be the snowman out front... Still waitin' on that one, I'm afraid!)
Yeah, we had some rough times. (And my brother still managed to misbehave, whenever Shelly and I made our neighborhood rounds!) But the things that made it wonderful, despite everything, were the albums, the movies, the stories, and, yes, the comics! Oh yeah--love too. But love is a double-edged sword, right? And whenever it threatened to cut too deeply in the wrong direction, I was pretty grateful for It's A Wonderul Life, Charles Dickens, and the splendid Levitz/Garcia-Lopez Legion story that I've referenced above! (Steve Chung wrote a fine tribute to it last year, 'round about this time...)
Anyway, I do hope to get in a little Yule-bloggin' this month, but I'm not making any promises to myself, let alone you, my dear readers!
When I played Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas, back in fifth grade, I offered up a quotation from the Gospel of Luke in answer to my bald friend's inquiry into the meaning of Christmas, and Luke is great; still, if I had been given the chance to script the scene my way, I would've quoted Dickens instead... So here it is again (from What Christmas is, as we Grow Older), just in case you missed it last year:
On this day we shut out Nothing!
"Pause," says a low voice. "Nothing? Think!"
"On Christmas Day, we will shut out from our fireside, Nothing."
"Not the shadow of a vast City where the withered leaves are lying deep?" the voice replies. "Not the shadow that darkens the whole globe? Not the shadow of the City of the Dead?"
Not even that. Of all days in the year, we will turn our faces towards that City upon Christmas Day, and from its silent hosts bring those we loved, among us. City of the Dead, in the blessed name wherein we are gathered together at this time, and in the Presence that is here among us according to the promise, we will receive, and not dismiss, thy people who are dear to us!