It occurred to me that the holiday season could be happy and joyous for everyone if it was celebrated in July or it didn’t occur with so many other people’s expectations. Beginning as early as August, there is a tsunami of Christmas which rolls over the land with a mandatory participation. No high ground here, celebrate we will, ready or not.
Those who can’t swim in December and have no social lifevest struggle to stay afloat. Life events which might seem ordinary in Summer are magnified by the seasonal darkness and expected liturgy of Ho! Ho! Ho!
We are immersed in the Winter Festival, the earliest seasonal celebration, attempts to throw some light into the longest nights of the year with merriment. Solstice, mistletoe, Santa Claus and family. Good cheer and peace to men of goodwill! I have to admit that your entire house and lawn covered with lights is a bit over the top, but we all deck our halls differently.
Some of us celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. For me, the celebration is a reminder of the incarnation of God in humanity, as Jesus taught, rather than the mythical birth narratives. So, maybe he wasn’t born in December or in Bethlehem. Doesn’t matter. The authors of Mathew and Luke thought the birth was a big deal, and so it was. Perhaps the stories are more of a vehicle for theology than an historical chronology, but the Message has to begin somewhere.
The most recent celebration is that of Consumerism. I admit my thirteen years of working in the mall has become a bias. Or PTSD, take your pick. As Stan Freeberg said it, a red and green bandwagon to jump on. I can recycle LL Bean and Lands End catalogs and flyers with the best of them, though I wish they’d send just one, like Sears used to. It is fun to shop locally for the little ones and buy gift cards for stores that don’t sell video games for the older grand kids.
This year we stayed home for the holidays and it turned out there was a reason. Opportunities for gratitude, service and growth appear all year long but they stand out in December. Today we’ll head out to visit family and friends with our three wonderful canine companions in their new home on wheels.
Today is the last day of Advent. “What came into being though the Word was life, and the life was a light for all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.” John 1:3-5. I used to think I’d had done Christmas enough and could take break, but there are still more surprises in the light of the season, however it’s celebrated. Can’t wait for next year!