Bah. Humbug, again…

Those who know me well know that I have no great love of the Xmas season. Oh, I dearly love the decorations and lights that pop up everywhere. They’re festive and joyful and I’m all for anything that makes the world a happier place, or at least a happier looking place. I just don’t dig the consumerism and commercialism that absolutely consumes our culture at this time of year.

I wrote a couple of years back about my experience of going to a local shopping center at my lunch hour and seeing scads of crying children surrounded by angry grown-ups. I’ve seen the same thing year after year – miserable people driving themselves mad with avarice. There’s a reason why it’s considered a deadly sin folks. Think about it.

What’s bizarre is this latest campaign on the part of the so-called conservative media who claim that Christmas traditions are under attack. I’m sorry folks, but you’re really reaching here. For one thing your idea of how entrenched the current fashion of Christmas is as a tradition is bogus. Secondly if you just look around you can see quite clearly that commercialized consumptive excess is well and truly still in fashion. If anything, the Xmas hype is more all-consuming than ever.

I’d really hate to be a little Jewish kid at this time of year. Sure, you’ve got Hanukkah, but as meaningful religious celebrations go in Judaism, that one’s sort of feeble. Growing up all the Jewish kids I knew had Xmas trees in their houses, and on December 25th they raced downstairs along with all the Christian kids, to tear open dozens of packages in an orgy of consumptive hysteria. Actually, I’d just hate to be an observant Jewish kid at this time of year.

I remember a few years back my ex-wife came home with these funny glasses. When you put them on and looked at any point of light with them the filters in the lenses causes you to see little stars of David at each light point. The effect was especially cool if you looked at a house with lots of Xmas lights on it. You’d see dozens of little David stars. The missus had several sets of these glasses and I asked if I could have one. I gave that set to a coworker who had a little boy who I knew was going to Hebrew school. She told me they were his favorite thing that year. He’d wear them when they were driving around at Christmastime and see the symbol of his religion everywhere.

What’s striking to me about folks like Bill O’Reilly who are fighting to make sure that Christmas stays commercial is that they don’t seem to understand the meaning of the holiday they’re claiming as their own. I suppose they’re not alone. I’m not religious, but I’m more reverent towards this holiday than nearly every self-proclaimed Christian I know. Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the rememberance of the birth of Jesus. It’s supposed to be a rememberance, a celebration, of the final covenant God made with his people. And yet nearly everyone I know spends this holiday in a mad rush to empty his or her wallet. It’s sad.

So I try to keep my head up, and try to keep smiling and enjoying the bright lights, the warm wintery beverages and the chance to remind myself of the friends and family I love and cherish. And when I get the chance I try to quietly remind people what this holiday is really about.

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