Last night I had a dream. I lay it out in sequence below but the dream was all at once.
The sky was lightening over the mountains early Christmas morning, and I was born.
The morning set in. My young parents brought me to the tree to unwrap presents. I was a toddler then. I tore wrapping paper to shreds and laughed.
When I uncovered the last present I was a boy–it was a bike. I went outside to ride it and to play catch with my dad. That’s the way we do around here. Christmas night may usually be dark and bitter cold, but Christmas day is sunny, and only crisp.
A couple of hours later my dad sent me in. I was starting to be a teenager then. I may have gone to my room to read a new SF book I’d got, but I don’t remember.
At midday I was with my wife. We were dating, we were engaged, we were just married. We were young and happy. We flashed lots of white, laughing teeth, helping my mom make cook in the kitchen.
In the afternoon we went in to Christmas dinner. We had our children now. Grandpa–my dad, older now–blessed the food. The meal had something solemn but lovely about it.
The day wore on peacefully. Our children grew. We played a boardgame with our grandchildren in the evening.
We were very old. We were sitting on the couch. We had that quiet, calm, reflective, reluctant moment you always have at the last moments of Christmas day.
We went to bed, turning out the lights.
I told my wife about the dream this morning. “What does it mean,” she said. I didn’t know.
We talked it over. Here are two suggestions.
Christmas is just like any other day. It has its share of little grievances. But on Christmas I shrug them off with invincible cheer. Perhaps life should be like that too.
Christmas is but once a year. Mortal life is but once an eternity. Maybe from the perspective of eternities our mortal life is a too-short holy day, where our only cares are children’s cares and there are too many good things to appreciate them all.
Later, another thought came to mind.
Everyone I meet, I am coming onstage to play a part in their life’s Christmas day.