This was the question that greeted me yesterday as I, and the person who asked it, chatted about their first Christmas without a loved one.
They told me of Christmas past - one word ('past'), many iterations:
Christmas as a child - full of excitement and promise;of stockings, nuts, an orange, toys and family. A home filled with siblings, cousins and wider family members.
Christmas as a lover - those heady days when all that was needed, wanted, had was that other person. Lost in each other - two surrounded by many.
Christmas as a parent - creeping around and making wishes real. The joy of seeing joy in the little lives you've brought into the world.
Christmas when the nest is flown - struggles as the pressures and challenges of being an 'in law' come home and Christmas is compressed into a visit and a meal. The 'two of us' again - but now the passion's gone and .... ?
Christmas as the grandparent - fleeting glimpses of days gone by. The realisation that 'rad' isn't the thing that keeps you warm and that the best route is a gift voucher lest you give a gift that's as welcome Asa heat wave at a snowman convention.
Christmas alone - the grandchildren are married, the kids are divorced and the love of your life has gone. Memories and pain, anger and loss. Confused and crying out for touch - a hand, a word a hope.
So what would your answer be?
But what does this mean?
Something real - something of meaning - a life full of hope and energy?
Something trite - hollow words - empty world ?
The story of a girl without a room, without a husband and a baby without a cradle. Born in a strange town amidst strange accents surrounded by smelly strangers (Shepherds) and (eventually) some geezers from the East with strange gifts.
The ultimate plan - planned and enacted - delivered to your door - constructed in your heart - made real in your heart - the gateway to eternity?
The choice - the opportunity is yours