You know the rest – it involves a lot of “la”s, Yule stuff and joy. It’s standard Christmastime fare that’s in every caroler’s repertoire and is played – ad nauseum – on every radio station that plays Christmas songs this time of year.
But for me there’s also a flip side to the season. My mom’s birthday is on December 4th but we don’t get to celebrate it with her – she died six years ago. My former boss and friend passed away two years ago about this time. And shortly after Christmas is the anniversary of my cousin Jerry’s death. And last year I lost my cousin Joey on Christmas day. While I can put on a good facade most of the time, these memories are always bubbling just below the surface.
So when I think of “the holiday season” (which, if you’re a retailer, seems to extend from roughly June to December these days; I personally like to think of it as Thanksgiving to New Years’) it’s bittersweet. There’s the sweet side – seeing the kids faces on Christmas morning; awesome light displays; hanging out drama-free with friends and family. And there’s the bitter side – knowing part of the drama-less time with the family doesn’t include my mom (who really was my rock, although my Dad’s a pretty solid one himself); recognizing I won’t get to call on the wisdom of David in those tough times; not being able to reconnect with Jerry or grab a beer with Joey.
I think that’s why I like the image on this post (and, in general, non-traditional angel pictures). “Requiem Angel” by Eric Deschamps is one of my favorite pictures ever. It combines the beauty of an angel with the despair of reality. It’s a great contradiction that paints the conflict between joy and sadness.
The MTG card’s text (which you can see at the right) illustrates the bittersweetness; in this case whenever she’s on the battlefield and you lose one of your other creatures you get to put a spirit creature on the battlefield. So, effectively, she keeps you somewhat whole – you might lose someone but she brings them back as best she can in the form of a spirit creature. That doesn’t take away the pain (she’s still sad) but it’s a step in the right direction.
Pretty deep for a Sunday, I know – and a Sunday around the holidays no less. But hey; I never promised anything else here, did I?by