Christmas remains relevant to many people, for many personal reasons. However, if one were to look beyond the personal warm-and-fuzzies, one cannot help but be saddened by the fact that this once most exuberant of holidays has been muted. Gone are the trapping of Christmas – the brightly colored lanterns,if they are there at all, now look like they’ve seen better days; Christmas carols no longer celebrate the joyfulness of the season while the airwaves are saturated with novelty themed songs that talk about heartbreak, or random foolishness; people rush around with frowns on their faces as they struggle to get presents for other people who they fear will be offended if they get nothing, instead of sauntering and cheerfully greeting others with lazy waves of their hands or the frenetic windmilling of arms that we perfected as little children.
I admit it. I am sentimental for that old Christmas spirit. Nostalgic. What of it?
And no, no I have NOT forgotten that Christ is the reason for the season. But seriously, Christmas has evolved beyond being a religious observance into something a lot more universal – more catholic, in the strictest sense of the word, than Catholicism. And a good thing that it has too. The world needs the celebration of joyful generosity, I think, much more than it needs to greet the Deity a happy birthday – especially when the definition of deity has been one of the most divisive concepts in the history of humanity.
This belief has led me to avoid flinging my religiosity in the face of others, while respectfully tolerating those who do exactly that. Nothing wrong with proselytising, of course, it’s just not my style. Just as it isn’t my style to struggle to re-contain Christmas after it has effectively escaped the confines of religious event. Instead, I prefer to see it as an occasion for happy-ness, regardless of where that comes from. If such glee arises for you from consumerism, what is it to me? I wouldn’t appreciate it if you were to take me to task for whistling show tunes, so why should I bitch about you doing something I disapprove of?
No it isn’t that I think people are “missing the point,” or that “Christmas has been commercialized.” its just that I think in focusing too much on this or that about Christmas, we’ve actually turned it into something far removed from what it used to be: a time to step back from the frantic pace of life, and and to reconnect with each other – not just family and friends – but with the whole mass of humanity swirling around us.
Instead, we have come to see Christmas – again, personal warm-and-fuzzies are not at issue here – as just another holiday, as ordinary and pedestrian as a long weekend. Only perhaps more expensive.