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Lions Roar : January 2017
One Perfect Christmas BONNIE NADZAM I was raised Catholic and once, as a girl, I had The Perfect Christmas. The snow was hip deep, the dining room table piled high with painted sugar cookies, the light of the Savior shone in our hearts at midnight Mass, and the presents were stacked to our shoulders around the perfect, hyper-perfect, super-perfect tree. I’ve only had one Perfect Christmas. Last Christmas, I was pregnant, on bed rest, and slept through most of the day. The Christmas before, my father was dying, I was preparing for surgery, and we were all quarrelling with each other. The year before that, I don’t even remember. I do recall the year my sister tried so hard to re-create that erstwhile per- fect day for her daughter that her daughter stopped opening presents half- way through, started crying, and refused to open any more. I also recall the Christmas my immediate family, for some reason, watched the entire Chucky horror-film series. It was the longest we’d all shared the same space together in years, and it’s a day we all look back on with odd fondness and gratitude. Tradition is a more mystifying and powerful container than we give it space for during the holidays. The truth is, I don’t know what this year’s Christmas will be like. That’s not to say we won’t prepare for it, or try to align our hearts with the mysteries of the season (such a powerful time: Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Christmas Day, the solstice, etc.). But we won’t be steering for anything in particular. It’s a mystery, after all. That’s what we hope to be atten- tive enough to witness. BONNIE NADZAM’s most recent novel is Lions. She’s a student in the White Plum Asanga and the mother of twin boys. Have a Very Buddhist Christmas Joy, giving, family, and peace—people of all faiths can celebrate these values of the holiday season. Eight Buddhists offer their take on yuletide dharma. ILLUSTRATIONS BY TOMI UM LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2017 65