Usually at this time of year I am bursting with resentment and rebellion against the entire culture of Christmas- the music, the decorations, and most especially the consumerism that defines the months of November and December in America.
This year I feel curiously detached.
Still, I feel it is my duty to complain, so I’m trying to work up some Christmas angst. I guess I’ll have to revert to my standby gripe: Why is it that a holiday that is supposedly meant to commemorate the birth of a man who was born, raised, and murdered in abject poverty, celebrated by spending billions of dollars, mostly on gifts exchanged between people who barely tolerate each other and don’t need anything anyway?
Of course, Christmas was never really about Christ (in case you didn’t know, he never even hinted that we are supposed to center a holiday around his birth); it was about the Church sanitizing the yule festivities that had been celebrated in honor of the winter equinox- which is, in my opinion, a wonderful thing to celebrate, considering that it marks the beginning of daytime lengthening once again. Oh, I can’t wait!
I’m not saying we shouldn’t commemorate Jesus’ birth. I just think that if we’re going to, we should do it in a way that honors his life, rather in a grumpy, harassed, gluttonous way. Maybe we should have a big dinner and invite only people who are too poor to reciprocate our invitation (didn’t Jesus actually tell us to do this on a regular basis anyway?). Maybe we should take the money we use for presents for people who already have so much stuff they have to rent PODS and give it support starving families (there are plenty to pick from). And maybe, instead of giving material gifts, we can forgive those relatives that drive us batty, we can say some kind words to our children/parents (oh, that’s a hard one!), we can go and clean our friends’ houses (hint hint)- basically, we can celebrate in ways that are meaningful, rather than simply contributing to this cultural mess of consumerism that has brought us nothing but unhappiness and stress for years.
Hmm. Still don’t feel much angst. Oh well. Maybe some egg nog will help...