This is the month of Christmas and Hanukkah for people of the Judeo-Christian traditions when lamps will be lit, gifts will be exchanged, trees will be decorated, stores will be invaded, and moneys will be collected for charity by the Salvation army.
But when poets write about drear-nighted December, and complain that
The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over the gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon
they are, unwittingly, prisoners in their latitudes. For, down below, to the south of the equator this is the month of mid-summer, with no snow or chill, except perhaps on mountain peaks.
“It’s the December Date for Winter!
Season of white and snow.”
“But in November too, there was this stuff,
As I’m sure you know.”
“It’s the month of joys when Santa comes
And toys, they are on sale!”
“Now, my friend, we all do know:
That Santa’s but a tale.”
“We’ll have Christmas soon, trees will be lit
And carols we will sing.
“But to Yusuf, Ben, and Gopal too
Christmas doesn’t mean a thing.”
“Oh, Winter is here, days are cold,
We need coats to go to town.”
“Not if you live in Peru or Perth
In Jakarta or Cape Town.”
“What do you want me to say, my friend
If all I say is wrong?
There’s no Christmas, there’s no snow,
There is no joy or song?”
“You aren’t wrong, no not at all,
But your truths are but for some.
All truths that touch one’s heart and soul,
Absolute ne’er become.
“So December sure is all you say:
For carols and snow, I bet.
But others have other seasons like this:
This we shouldn’t forget.
“The seeming path of sun in sky
Changes this day, we find.
This truth touches no heart or soul,
It’s of the scientific kind.”
“I care not for truths scientific,
In Christmas, they’ve no place.
Come, sing with me of Christ and Love
Of Joy and Peace and Grace.”
December 1, 2013