Christmas: still waiting for a miracle…

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From “Stories For Somebody’s Darlings” (London & Glasgow, Collins Clear Type Press 1905)

I am not saying that I hate Christmas. It is just that maybe I am expecting more than the day does really bring. I always was. We have all been brought with this crazy idea that Christmas was a miraculous day. And I am not even hinting at the white bearded guy and his reindeer silhouetted against the moon. When I was a little girl, I was told that all wars miraculously stopped all over the world and that this was the time for sharing and rejoicing. Sometimes I would even make it the the Midnight Mass with my grandmother. The church was decked out with a fragrant Christmas tree and a giant manger. In the end, I was left with a peaceful feeling and a desire to start all over again.

I do not know who got us into this idea that Christmas was a must-be-happy and must-be-nice day. We are wishing “merry Christmas”, implying that this day is meant be a joyful one but what does this really mean? How much are we getting involved by saying “merry Christmas”? Not much, are we? Are good feelings and an overall self-satisfaction enough to capture the essence of the day?

I am rather bothered with the material aspect wrapping up the event. It looks like there is a traditional tyranny. Not celebrating Christmas makes you look as a social outcast. “Whaaaat? You’re not putting up a Christmas tree? And you’re not offering presents to each other? Oh, that’s so sad.” It’s not that I am an unconditional fan of the Grinch, it’s just that I cannot grasp the spirit of Christmas considering food excesses and hunt for presents.

From a christian point of view -which I am sure is perfectly legitimate-, Christmas celebrates the birth of a gifted child. The Son of God Himself had a mission to save a decadent humanity from eternal doom. Which He will eventually carry out by dying on a cross. From what we know from the gospels, Jesus was subversive, hanging out with prostitutes, lowlife, sick and poor people.  And when a rich would-be disciple tells him that he has done all the law ordered him to do to deserve Heaven, Jesus asks the only one thing he knows the young man will not be able to give up: his dough. Furthermore, Jesus pointed out that it is harder for a rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven than it is for a camel to slip through the eye of a needle. Materialism was never a means to reach Heaven. On the contrary, it seems that money was rather much of a nuisance.

My late grandmother who was born in the early 1900’s, used to tell me that she usually did not get anything for Christmas, except for an orange sometimes, which was considered as an exotic fruit back then. The children were just happy with the excitement brought by the day. With the rise of mercantilism, the simple magic of the celebration must have vanished into thin air. Or so it seems to me.

I do not want nor expect Christmas gifts. I just cannot figure out why people are making presents that are most of the time unwanted. Besides, many gifts will end up being sold online, or re-gifted for other purposes. Happiness cannot be bought or given, unbridled consumerism is consuming us. Desperately waiting for Christmas to unwrap some miracles…

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