Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Freakin' Christmas

Regular readers know that I'm an atheist, so the religious aspects of Christmas don't hold any meaning for me. I'm an incipient curmudgeon, so all the forced social merriment sours me. (On the other hand, I do make a point of sincerely saying "Merry Christmas" everywhere I go, especially to store clerks. Go figure.) I've made a point this year of avoiding all the stores and malls -- because the crush of people really does creep me out now. Trying to buy yet another token of genuine emotion as though somewhere in the exchange of consumer products chosen from a specific, pre-determined list of wants, that genuine emotion will be made manifest and will have real meaning, strikes me as hollow in the worst way.

More than usual, I have no real sense of it being Christmas-time this year. It's just a rainy dreary day today.

I wish that more folks would wake up from the consumerist daze they are in. Buying "stuff" isn't the same as giving, as though the total cash value translated into depth and profundity of feeling. Giving isn't a transaction; it's a sacrifice. Running up your debt to surround those strangers you call family with more devices and distractions that will further alienate you from each other isn't how the lifelong bonds that sustain you are built.

I wish more folks who call themselves Christians would live where the rubber meets the road. Growing up in the Catholic Church, I was taught the "true" meaning of Christmas, but it's amazing how many folks can hold the incompatible ideas of the modern, secular shopping spree that is "the holiday season" alongside the idea that their God willingly gave up his son to be tortured and murdered by their ancestors because he wanted to offer them a chance at redemption. It would seem that one idea of "giving" rather dwarfs the other.

But that's just me, an outsider looking in. The stores are still open for a few more hours as I write this, so shoo. You've got shopping still to do.

Merry Christmas.

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