Last Christmas I linked to this excellent article from Rebecca Teti
and it bears annual repetition because the message therein, is timeless. It ought to serve as a corrective to anyone you may know (and we all know someone
) who is inclined to bemoan the approach of the holidays and use them as an excuse to whine about the burdens he imagines only he is feeling. Christmas is a humbug--these perpetual whiners say--because it is overly commercialized, too greedily celebrated, devoid of real meaning or whatever other excuse he can cling to to differentiate himself from the "sorry masses" who enjoy the season and spoil his inclination to feel miserable. Teti asks:
When did the Good News become bad news? It's understandable from
non-believers, but surprising numbers of Christians get in on the act. I
don't know how the world is supposed to rejoice when Christians don't.
Our Advent preparation consists largely of complaining about how much
there is to prepare.
Christians, especially, ought to eschew this temptation. It can be difficult to do because there is so much work involved in a good celebration but we have to remember that, "all festivity is ultimately an affirmation of the goodness of existence" and to resist this kind of joy is to affirm its opposite.
For those more inclined to ponder the deeper meaning of Advent and Christmas and their place (and ours) in modernity, you may also enjoy mulling over Ken Masugi's
annual Advent conversation with Father James V. Schall, S.J.
Really, it's not a complaint: it's a lament.
When preparing for the "Holidays" begins in August and builds to a crescendo on the day after the fourth Thursday in November, everyone is advertised, shopped, caroled and "Happy Holiday"ed out by 25th December.
Just when the 12 Days of Christmas should be building up a head of steam, community focus is redirected to the really, really, great All-American family event: the Stupor Bowl.
Those of us who understand why we sing "Joy to the World" are drowned out in the clatter of consumerism's next pre-occupation.
Just sing it louder!
Many things in this life are a pale imitaion of what things ought to be. That's one way to look at it. One the other hand, the other side of consumerism is generosity. Isn't it lovely that people are so excited about giving?
May you find some joy in these dregs of the holiday, Paddyspig.
A very Merry Christmas for all those who wish it!
Kate, you're singing the same tune as the Pope in an essay on the topic. Here's a piece about that from a few years ago --at the risk of tastelessly promoting my own.
Thanks for the link, Julie --and Merry Christmas!