The True Meaning Of Christmas


Before GPS, there was the North Star.

It was Christmas Eve and Dad came home drunk as if it were yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that. Long story short, Dad was one of them functioning alcoholics. None of this mattered to me. I was eight years old and I needed to know one thing: What is the meaning of Christmas.

Dad’s eyes were red and glazed like a duck with mumps. His lips were constantly moist. He reeked of booze and cigarettes. It was apparent he didn’t want to answer when he responded with a continuous sigh, “Why don’t you ask your mother when she comes home from work?” A brief aside, Mom never returned.

I insisted and Dad plopped down in his chair. Just as I was about to sit in his lap, he cleared his throat, “Christmas is the day Jesus Christ was born. The end.” Satisfied with himself, he abruptly fell asleep, followed less than a minute later with heavy snoring.

I stood there and discovered the true meaning of angst as I squeezed my fists until my face turned bright red.

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