I'm old. I'm way beyond the Sears Christmas Wish Book and its pages of expectations.
Maybe I'm not so much old as I am of very low expectations.
I would miss the lighted tree if we couldn't have it. I would miss the lighted garlands. And I am so, so grateful that, for the most part, I don't have to put them up any more. Number Two Son did most of the heavy lifting this year. As last year.
I would miss the cup of extra-strong coffee after Mass on Christmas Day, if I couldn't have it. I suppose I would. I would miss having a warm room in which to drink it while the presents are unwrapped.
What's the best part of Christmas? We go out of our way to give pleasant signs of our regard for each other, and sometimes those signs are "Christmas presents". Life is hard, and it is good to be able to make a little happiness for each other.
I read an article once by a bible scholar who claimed the birth of Jesus had to have been either around the winter solstice or around the spring equinox. I forget the reasoning. I think the scholar came down on the side of the vernal-birthers. Today of course "experts say" there is no reason to believe the Virgin bore the Child "in the bleak midwinter". Experts say.
There is the best reason to believe the Child has a December birthday: He knows we need it now. He gave us the grace of a time of light. (Sorry, southern-hemisphreaks, we Nordic types tend to be rather exclusive, I'm afraid.)
On this the third day of Christmas, the presents have been unwrapped; they are joyful or humorous or useful; they are pleasant signs; they are memories.
The light remains. The love remains.
Gifts from years ago, gifts perhaps from those now dead. Gifts that illuminate and guide us by the power of the love by which they were given.
The light remains. The love remains. Believe it.