Friday, December 17, 2010

making light of christmas

Christmas is not my favorite holiday.

I am not certain it ever was.  But I am certain my mother will correct me on that point if my memory has faded.

Mind you, I am not Scrooge incarnate.  The holiday has everything that would commend it to a world with troubles.  I simply cannot get get thrilled about a holiday that promises peace on earth and then leaves everyone relieved it is over.

How did I describe it in my Thanksgiving post?  "It is a value-laden holiday without the adrenalin and bile of Christmas."  That sums up my feelings quite succinctly.

One part of Christmas celebrations (in addition to the obvious incarnation) still thrills me.  I like the lights.  Yes, I know.  They are one of the most obvious holdovers from Christmas's makeover from its pagan origins.  Lights to beg the gods to give our sun back to us in the height of winter. 

But lights are also just plain fun.  And I suspect many a Roman during Saturnalia forgot all about the sun and simply enjoyed the pretty lights.

For me Christmas lights look as if Seurat had designed the night.  Dots and commas of color.

Mexico is no exception.  My neighbors love the lights of Christmas.  I live in a poor village.  You will not find McMansions decked out in whites-only lights.

But there are plenty of small family homes decorated in Christmas and Christian cheer.  Because in Mexico, it is an obvious religious event.

This year my neighbors got a good head start on the season.  Lots of homes were decorated for Revolution Day in patriotic red, green, and white. 

Add a picture of the Virgin, and you can celebrate the feast of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.  Add a Christmas tree, and you have decorations that work for almost two months -- or longer.  Because most of them will be up until Epiphany.  Some until Candelmas in February.

Billie over at Billieblog has been doing some clever photographic work while she is in Houston.  She has been shooting Christmas light displays in the city's neighborhoods.   And, as always, her work is filled with the very feel of Christmas.  She really is good.

Even though I do not have Billie's skills, I want to share a bit of our Christmas spirit here in Melaque.  They are not as grand as most displays in The States.  But they have the feel of sincere joy.

From now until Christmas, I will share a few with you.

If I can keep my social security hands steady enough to record the magic of the night.


Calypso said...

The beauty of the new cameras is the stabilization feature - oh there still are a few blurry photos - but man that feature assists the "social security hand". ;-)

Anonymous said...

I bought the new energy saving LED lights for my Christmas tree - those things are so crazy bright it looks like the tree is full of radioactive mini-pinecones!

Deydree said...

I love your blog!! I grew up in Colima, and barra & Melaque are my favorite places to relax.. I had to move to Edmonton last year =S and through your blog I feel I'm closer to my hometown.. Ohhh I really wish I was there.
Regards from Canada!

NWexican said...

Nothing says Merry Christmas more than 80 degree weather and flashing lights on a palm trees... I remain green with envy :o

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- Technology can cure a lot. But not everything. I still see my dad in the mirror more and more each morning.

mbsmith94 -- Another warning sign of celebration.

Deydree -- Happy to add a link to home. I am certainly enjoying it.

NWexican -- And well you should, sir. Even though there is something off-putting about Christmas heat. If it makes you feel any better, in a shadenfreude sort of way, it has been getting as low as the 60s in the evening. Everyone is bundling up as if we were in Nome.