Yes, I understand that the holiday is called Christmas. The first twelve years of my life were spent immersed in the “Christ” part. Midnight mass. Advent wreaths. “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel. (In Latin. In chant.) Fasting three hours before Communion on Christmas morning, which meant no marshmallow Santas until after church. But also something greater. So large as to be beyond mortal reach.

Later, it was the born-again, “Jesus is the reason for the season” chant. Our brother, god, and savior taking on flesh to become like us. In order to save us from…ourselves. And, perhaps, each other.

So I have been there. And I have done that. And when it comes to the true meaning of Christmas, these days, my soul echoes a resounding…silence.

The rich, centuries-old traditions of this season must have a universal significance; of this I am convinced. But the earsplitting cacophony of forsaken, rapacious humankind drowns out the still, small voices that speak of the essence of the earthly experience, and its relationship to things of a higher plain. The spiritual has become incredibly distant. The pseudo-spiritual covers all like a thick layer of dark molasses. So I, like an ever-increasing number of erstwhile seekers, don’t even go there.

Christmas, now, means dusting off old memories, oohing and aaahing at the sparkle and glitter, questing after the taste, sound, or feeling that will make it all make sense. And, on December 26th, discovering that, once again, the nexus has remained inches beyond reach. Or miles. The old trails don’t quite go where the heart needs to go. And the new paths lead nowhere.

And so…here is a cat with antlers. He’s cute. He is mostly the meaning of Christmas for me these days. That is sad. Isn’t it?