Religious and pagan holiday juxtapose on December 25, thanks to Emperor Constantine, who sought to please the masses by combining winter solstice rituals with the celebration of Jesus’ birth. While he was a brilliant politician, in my opinion he did a disservice both to Christmas and the winter solstice. They are nothing alike, no tie binds them; Jesus wasn’t even born in “December”. Thank you Emperor, you ensured that we celebrate a cobbled chaotic mess and leave the season behind suddenly on Dec 26 mystified and deflated.
As a child I LOVED Christmas; the mystery of gifts that appeared magically Christmas day; the gaiety and energy; the tradition that tied me to generations’ past; the warm stories told over and over; the beautiful songs that were played only this time of year; the food (!).
But as I grew older, I realized that Christmas beggared people; created family feuds; could not withstand the hype; left us tired and depressed. The only winners were the merchants. And as I grow older, I see the epidemic of depression that surrounds this Holiday season. And while giving of gifts is a fine time-honored event, it cannot buy more than transient happiness. And this up and down roller coaster is one reason that leads to generalized dissatisfaction. (Of course, the bills don’t help! And why does everything come due at the end of the year?)
As a Christian, I believe that Satan orchestrates an ever larger and more frantic Christmas season in efforts to reduce the religious reason for the celebration and base the holiday on our cultural reliance on a material source for Holiday joy (wow, that’s a mouthful). A person would have to be blind not to see that material Christmas has been creeping up into Halloween. And anymore Christmas is WORK. So the idea of Advent was created to reduce the mania and allow people to relax more, love more, give more of themselves, spend less and help the needy instead of giving useless gifts. We spend 450 BILLION on Christmas. It is estimated that just a single year donation of 20 billion would clean up the world wide dirty water problem. “So little”, at least in the face of the total amount spent. Merchants are taking out death hits on me right now…. 🙂
So nothing here is new. I am not creating a philosophical epiphany. And I am not being Grinchy. I just wonder why we do this to ourselves. Is it the mass group effect? While masses move slowly, once started it rolls faster and faster and becomes harder to slow it down? I don’t know, but I think that the only way to slow down the madness is to take your own personal stand, tell your family and friends you are going to celebrate more quietly and perhaps the trickle down effect will start another mass movement…..unless you are, of course, a merchant. In which case, I think you stopped reading during paragraph two.
So of course there must be a poem. Not my best, but I like the outline of it! The content in the poem below is related to my general unhappiness surrounding the material obsession related to Christmas mania without celebrating Jesus’ birth as the foundation.
Holy season of Advent:
Birth of God’s beloved Son.
Virgin birth miraculously sent;
Precious Holy gift, Sacrificial One
sent through Mary, to mankind lent.
God’s Beloved Sacrifice, the real reason
Jesus’ Birth was God’s perfect, sinless present;
The basis to celebrate this Christian Holiday season.
Dimming Jesus’ birth glory
is St Nick’s century old story
told through oral tradition;
even with multiple renditions.
For would our St Nick obsession
of a man giving out free presents
linger on without material possession
(with little care for the Carbon footprint)?
Pagan Christmas, Satan’s plan of discontent
aided by Merchants, gleeful for the financial mint.
Everyone knows good Christmas’ are often measured
by what each person has received in material pleasure.
“Was that all”, we say? All that planning for one single day?
So each year, in the end, the final present is Holiday sadness;
for real seasonal joy can only be found in Holy Advent gladness.