Saturday, December 24, 2005
Hello. I don't suppose that between travelling to in-laws and shopping till you feel like droppings and chesnuts roasting on an open fire right down Santa Claus Lane you feel particularly up to reading this thing, but I feel like writing on it, and as the title implies, it's all about me, baby. It's Christmas time, which still feels wonderful to say if you stop and think about it, but you have to be careful about context and traffic signals and all. I was doing some shopping for gifts this week (yeah, I know, shock), and it struck me just now that I didn't really do so with all that much attention paid to giving the darn things. I just wanted to give the gifts that I would be expected to give, and hopefully no one would hate what I gave them, and within a few weeks they'd forget that it was me who gave them that thing that they never use. I was reflecting on this with a friend, and for some reason the ever popular A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens came to mind, where Scrooge wakes up on Christmas day and, feeling as if he's got a new lease on life, sends a boy off to find a huge turkey, and then sends the turkey to his faithful and impoverished employee's family. My thought process didn't exactly make a lot of sense, but the scene popped into my head because the gift of turkey wasn't expected. Scrooge just felt so darn Christmasy that he sent the biggest turkey money could find off to the Cratchets, unsolicited (now that I think of it, Cratchet's a sort of a silly sounding name, but I'm no Charles Dickens). God bless us every one indeed. I realize that this was important because earlier in the story he's the stingiest man alive, but it still managed to make me feel silly for just buying presents because that's what you do for Christmas. No, I'm not trying to make some point about how our beloved holiday has become too commercialized and all that, goodness knows that if that's what you want to hear there are plenty of people to say it to you, I'm just trying to say that for me at least, the whole thing can get so automatic. You put up a tree, you buy gifts for the people you like and a few people who you don't like, but it would be socially difficult to get away with not giving them gifts, you decorate your house, you make one hell of a meal (not to mention the cookies-you can't forget those), you wear a few garments for the first time since they were given to you last Christmas, you think about the poor in our cities and our soldiers in foriegn countries for a few days, and when it's all over you drag the tree out to the curb (or put it in its box back in the basement if you're one of those people), clean up the wrapping paper and various nondescript spills, and go back to your everyday existence, because that's what you do for Christmas. Hopefully somewhere in the middle of all that you also manage to sit down and spend a few precious hours with those people, but some people don't. I guess I'm just bemoaning (I know, it's so unlike me to bemoan anything) how taken-for-granted it all is, at least by me, when Christmas itself is so deliberate. What makes Christmas special is that God himself deliberately did what was not expected of him by anyone and became Man. The world changed. Man's relationship with God and with creation was altered. God humbled himself so much as to become a man! Anyways, I guess I'm just trying to say merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you, sorry if I got a little wordy in there. Do your shopping, cook your turkeys, say a prayer for the poor and the sick, don't forget to ask for peace in the world and try to have faith that someone can deliver it. Put up a big Christmas tree and decorate it with as little attention to home decorating conventions as possible (let's face it, a dying evergreen tree covered with trinkets and lights is never going to be all that tasteful, might as well have some fun). Smile when you're driving alone at night and you pass by a life-sized nativity scene, and every time someone tells you "Happy Holidays," respond with an even more cheerful "Merry Christmas," and try to say it like you've never gotten to say it to anyone before, and it's been all bottled up inside of you. Aw heck, you know what to do much better than I do. Merry Christmas, I hope that it's one full of joy, love, and peace.