It’s an odd thing, a Christmas with neither church (or my wordless version therof) nor children.
To mark the holiday we did go to our own temples: We went to the temple of Avignon market where pink lobsters squirm and green oysters glisten, and we went to the temple of the mountain where we picked thyme, which we used in the temple of the kitchen to infuse chocolate ice cream. We downloaded carols onto itunes and sang along to In The Bleak Mid-winter, and we cried a little. We cried from gratitude for the sung text of Christina Rosetti, for feet warmed by the fire, cold cat paws on our laps and a ‘pintade chaponais’ well stuffed with chestnuts, but we also cried for the absences which open our hearts and make the spaces between plenty ring out like gongs.
‘What Can I give him; Give my heart’
Behind the boys’ voices, somewhere in the bass region of the organ, I heard the sound of emptiness which no amount of nuzzling between furry ears or champagne guzzling could take away.
‘Maybe it’s time to rethink…’
‘What? At our age?’
Meanwhile, here is the real Christmas Story told in cheese:
The beautiful Mother Mary
was feeling blue because there was no room at the Inn.
So the she and Joseph (who was, as we gather from Monty Python, a blessed cheesemaker)
lay down on a stable bed
where she gave birth to a son (which was pretty wierd because as far as she knew she was a virgin but miracles do happen) and suckled him at her breast.
Then three wise men came from the East with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, proclaiming him the Christ child and worshipping the baby Jesus.