I confess. I am guilty of the worst kind of selfishness. I have said once upon a time that I hated Christmas and wished it would go away and never return.
I have ridiculed the so-called"season of peace"and labeled it a modern day charade perpetrated upon those who don't know any better. It's the time of year when people pull out all the stops and, like it or not, spend money they probably need for other things on useless gifts and endless feasting.
I once called the holidays"the season of madness"and said it was just another of the endlessly idiotic conditioned responses engrained since childhood. Like a bunch of mesmerized mannequins we go through the motions every year! Drag out the decorations and trim the real or artificial tree with fake icicles, electric candles, imitation snow and a gaggle of gaudy baubles of every shape and color!
Like programmed robots we march out to stores and flick through mail order catalogs, purchasing a planet's ransom in things to give one another; stuff that in all likelihood will neither be needed nor appreciated by the recipient.
We wrap the gifts in paper upon which is printed various versions of a fat man in a red suit who is oftentimes smoking a pipe one presumes is filled with deadly tobacco and on occasion also shown to be holding a whip aloft as he tries to brutalize a bunch of pregnant rain deer into flying!
Some of us transform the exterior of our homes into winter wonderlands that rival sets at the Icecapades and then drive around town to see who has outdone whom.
And just think of all those trees that must die to provide a brief object of adornment or decoration? And millions more trees sacrificed and beaten into pulpy submission so that we might buy and mail thunderous tons of cards, announcements, invitations, boxes, cartons and sales materials that rise like mountains in land fills within a matter of days following the festivities!
Surely the whole holiday gala is supported by a back bone of paper and cruelty! For next comes the eating, drinking and merriment shared by all but those who give their lives to become nothing more than another bout of indigestion as we once again stuff our gullets to overflowing!
The crowning glory to the entire absurdity is surely the plethora of after-Christmas sales where one can buy next years party hats and imitation poinsettias at 50% off! And leave us not forget those staunch few misfits who take the whole farce serious enough to actually return their gifted socks for the correct size or that toaster that came in the mail instead of the live lobsters from Maine.
But what about all the good works done for the poor and needy at Xmas, my critics would often exclaim!? Yes, well this may come as a surprise to some, but those same poor and needy are hungry and in need all year long, too; and for them Christmas is a long time coming.
Yes I am guilty. I have lambasted away at the joy others seemed to find at this special, supposedly holy time. And I must admit, after careful consideration, my reasoning remains sound to this day.
Even so, there is an ancient book in which it is written: Man reasoneth and is deceived.
Perhaps there is something about Christmas that is good and noble, something I failed to see, like the proverbial trees that hide the forest. Something a reasonable person might never find so long as he selfishly refuses to abandon pure reason.
The same book I just mentioned also says: A fool is obstinate but a wise person changes his mind often.
Some things in life are not reasonable. Christmas is just such a thing. And I have come to feel we need much more of Christmas, rather than less! But of course I am speaking of what Christmas really is, rather than the way we use it.
We humans must be the strangest creatures imaginable. We build so many walls about ourselves we might as well be locked in a prison on an abandoned island in the middle of the ocean on a planet lost in space!
When the true meaning of Christmas is revealed, it's a truth powerful enough to break a heart of stone. Even a Scrooge must succumb to it's magic!
We need Christmas because it's the one time of year when we let ourselves show a little of the love we really feel, but can't express. So we give each other silly little things as we gather together about the tree on Christmas day. And we sing and we laugh and we eat and drink. We take a few pictures.
For a brief time at Christmas we forget about how lonely we really are the rest of the year. At Christmas we cherish the good will and fellowship of friends and kin and pretend it's always like that. At Christmas we forgive each other our individualities and pretend we are as forgiving always.
If there is such a thing as Holiday Blues, it must surely be grounded in this realization at Christmas time of the loneliness we feel throughout the rest of the year. As we see the smiling faces of those we know and those we love, we can't help but wonder why life must be such a hard and solitary road. After a year of toil and troubles, there is, for a brief time, a drop of peace and perhaps a small bit of joy. Then it's right back into a new year of more toil and trouble. If that's not “blues” material, what it?
Amid the trials and tribulations of life we long to be held by a loving mother or father and be told that all will be well. No matter how many years old we might be, we yearn to be loved, appreciated and needed. And nothing says this better than the look of joy on everyone's faces when you come home on Christmas day!
So now, though I would hope for a “greener” Christmas and will continue to do my small bit to make that happen, I say, let us have Christmas all year long and only one day of business as usual!
Rather than the season of peace, let us have a year of putting our pettiness and silly insecurities aside. Then, when Christmas next roles around let us rejoice! After all, it's very important to remember that when your Aunt Daisy gives you that special hanky with your very own initials, or your father-in-law gifts you that dandy bottle of Old Spice After Shave when you haven't shaved your beard in over a decade, what the both of them are really saying is how much they love you!
Doubt it, even in the slightest, and the magic of Christmas will never be real for you. Because to be loved, one must love without reservation or requisite. For only then can we allow others to be themselves and to love us in the ways that are uniquely their own.
The Christmas myth is based on one person who loved all others so much he was willing to die in hopes that the sins of the world would be washed away. With this in mind, surely we can forgive and forget all things past, which can't be changed anyhow, and let the magic of Christmas fill our hearts and minds!
May all those who have endured my X-mas bashing down through the years forgive me my transgressions! And may you have yourself a very merry Christmas, a few silent, holy nights, some chestnuts roasting and Jack Frost nipping and above all else, please do go home for Christmas! Even if it's only in your dreams.
After all, who knows what Santa may bring for those of us who have been good little boys and girls!
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