If you guessed December, then pat yourself on the back, for it certainly is the Sarge's favorite month. (Don't feel bad if you guessed wrong, I ain't that clever a fellow myself. In my profession "clever" is frowned upon as it is equivalent to saying "unmaintainable by anyone other than the person who wrote it." Yes, I am in the software business, no, I am not clever. Oh, don't confuse "clever" with "elegant," totally different. Elegant is good, clever is bad. As to my own personal level of "cleverness," do you know how many years it was before the true meaning of the pseudonym NaCly Dog struck me? More than I care to mention. Not clever, not me. But I digress...)
Perhaps the main reason I enjoy December so much is that it is the holiday season, which for me starts at Thanksgiving and ends with Epiphany in January. (For those who are interested in such things, in Germany, Epiphany is known as Dreikönigstag, I'll leave the pondering of that and it's meaning to you. Hint: Google is your friend in that regard.)
Yes, I suppose I enjoy the holiday more for it's colorful decorations, pretty lights, gift-giving (and getting, I'm not squeamish in that regard), and all around "good cheer." Though that last bit is rather strained these days. Those are the things I remember from my youth. It was also (and sometimes still is) a time for families to come together and celebrate.
I was reminiscing with my brother about how many people used to be crammed into our wee house on Christmas Day. Not all at once mind you, but they would come in waves, first one set of grandparents, then the other. Then an uncle and aunt. Perhaps a cousin would be with them, often multiple sets of uncles and aunts. A full house of happy people is a joy to behold. It's what I remember as a kid.
I guess that stuck with me over the years as I always look forward to this month with a great deal of excitement. Is December perfect and wonderful every year? No, of course not. But if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that my percentage of outstanding Decembers (as opposed to "meh" Decembers) runs close to 95%, even higher if memory serves. (Which as I get older happens not as reliably as it used to.)
Another thing I love about December will no doubt elicit a few groans from the readership. That would be the white stuff, snow. The fluffy, gently falling kind, not the Nor'easter blowing in your face, holy crap we're all going to freeze to death kind. (That usually waits until January.) In December the snow in these parts (if we get any at all) is typically minimal and of the "gone by noon" variety. Still and all it presents a picturesque and Christmas-y feel. Though I don't recall having snow on the ground for any of the 18 Decembers we've been residing in Little Rhody. For that we had to go further North, I have seen a few White Christmases in New Hampshire and Vermont since I retired from Uncle Sam's Aerial Follies. One of which was perhaps a tad too white, think 18+ inches of snow. In about six hours. Fortunately we were indoors the whole day.
I thought it looked pretty, The Olde Vermonter, who had to drive in it, wasn't as appreciative. Can't say I blame him. I also remember that Christmas (well, Boxing Day to be precise) as the last time I ever got to shovel snow with my Dad.
Funny the things you miss.
While in my idle youth and nearly pagan days of being a card carrying member of the aforementioned military service I wasn't nearly as observant of the religious aspects of the Christmas holiday as I am these days.
Yes, yes, I know that the 25th of December was chosen by Holy Mother Church to piggyback on the pagan Winter Solstice holiday season and that the Lord was probably not actually born in December. I get that, but during the aforementioned pagan times of my existence, while I acknowledged the "reason for the season," I didn't view the Birth of the Christ as the main reason for the season.
Older, and perhaps wiser, I now truly enjoy that aspect of the season. I shudder to think what would have become of me if The Missus Herself hadn't determined 18-odd years ago that we would be a church going family and "yes, you will go upstairs and put on something decent AND you will go to church AND you will enjoy it."
Though I had my doubts, I went and, wouldn't you know it, I did enjoy it. (Well, admittedly it took a few Sundays before I really got into it.) The older I get and the more I think about it, though Christmas is a lot of fun for me, it wouldn't be the same without the religious aspect.
There's something about a candle-lit church on Christmas Eve with a choir softly singing "Silent Night." Truly special to me, when I have my own bairns and their own bairns home for Christmas, I feel truly blessed. And my Mom, Dad is gone, but Mom, dear Mom, I love seeing her at Christmas as well.
So yeah, I like December. A lot.
Even though it is the beginning of winter with all that that entails in this neck of the woods. But no one who has ever experienced the harshness of a New England winter cannot but fail to appreciate the coming of Spring.
Four seasons are great. But December, I love it so.
This carol sounds lovely in any language, but I like it most in the original language. Have I mentioned how special Christmas is in Germany? No? Don't worry, I will. Eventually.