These words we say, what do they mean? Only
a greeting? Season’s greetings. But what season
absorbs the phrase? A season of holidays,
the holiday season. Is this a holy time?
For holiday, with an i for the y
, was holy.
Appearances notwithstanding, we notice all
it does is organize the word for all
conventional uses, like greeting cards—only
the rites of social life. Not that holy
purpose haunting depths beyond the season
surfaces, but ordinating a time
of merchant heights gives the holidays
their business priesthood. So, the holidays
in that way are stuck. After all,
we can’t expect fluency this time
of year, drummed with selling and shopping. Only
a fool, illusion’s genius, sees the season—
bound by its bottom line—as happily holy.
But if not the mass of Christ, Christmas, what holy
savior in the life that’s ours, what holiday
of the year exceeds itself, crowned by its season?
If we diss his birth, does Easter live at all?
Then after spring, the Fourth; but a nation only
borne on its birth loses July in time,
fades in its own shadow, dependent on time
and the pennants of history, missing its holy
truth, its destiny—the one and only
matter that matters, like holy in holidays.
So really, what is holy? The whole, the all.
We’ve just undone the w, in season
and out. The holy knows no exclusions, its season-
ing is piquant with every spice, its time
is not just past, tradition, but the all
of every now, the pulsing oneness, the holi-
ness of every name, the holidays
of Allah, the Buddha, Confucius, Krishna, the Tao and Yahu, not only
our sweet Jesus, his season of holidays.
That root is an only alchemy of time,
our life in all the holidays, the holy.