Zim has some very valid points in his comment to my last post and I think they warrant a response post. First, go read his comments if you haven’t done so already.
The Christmas Spirit; I’ve found as I get older, that so many things conspire against it. In no particular order:
- Rampant commercialization of the season. This commercialization has so removed the “magic” of the season, that youthful innocence that lets us dream and believe.
- As tie-in to the above: The expansion of the season. When I was young, there was no Christmas anything until Santa arrived Thanksgiving Day on the Macy’s float. Nothing. Thanksgiving Day was the kick-off to the Christmas season. Now you start seeing Christmas things in stores or advertising as early as August. It’s this time-frame dilution that helps make it a far less anticipated, special event.
- The removal of Christ from Christmas. Regardless of your particular spiritual belief, this point applies: simply substitute whichever symbol of charity, sacrifice and unconditional love into the above sentence. Christmas is, in the end a construct; historically Christ was not born on Christmas. Christian holidays, all religiously based holidays, are sociopolitical constructs of the current ruling party/religion. The birth of Christ is celebrated on this particular day because it was easier to usurp an already existing celebration: you can’t cancel the Solstice festival, the Saturnalia, etc., but you can change it to your purpose. But in the end, each permutation is a celebration of life and this basic understanding of the season has been lost.
- Loss of contact with fellow human beings. As the world becomes seemingly more and more connected, it actually seems we are all moving apart. Phones keep us from talking face to face. Cars keep us from walking, where we might chance to meet. Computers allow us to sit in our homes, safe in our cocoons, to virtually connect, but is that a real connection? Without truly being among your fellow human beings, how is it possible to be human?
There is nothing wrong with enjoying the material aspects of the season; giving is a demonstration of an aspect of the spiritual model. Giving, that is, without any expectation of return, giving to show your love, your appreciation of another human being.
As I’ve written in a previous post, I do think it is important to do some regular, unconditional giving. It can be monetary, but it doesn’t need to be, it can be a donation of time, donation of goods, etc., simply some acknowledgment that there are those less fortunate, more needy, than you. And here, I’m not saying, “Be a martyr to humankind,” but rather recognize that we all depend on each other.
In that vein, I urge more “green-ness” in everyone’s life. We continue to dismantle the delicate symbiosis with our Earth. This practice of “green-ness” is another face of giving and respect. We need to protect and care for the planet on which we live. The Earth will certainly survive despite our shenanigans, but she may, no, will refuse to support our existence if we continue to divorce responsibility for our action from their consequences.
In the end, if we want to keep the “magic” of the season alive, we need to embrace our loved ones, and the world, in our hearts, care for and respect those around us and also the world in which we live. And always remember, as our ancestors found as those fearful days, ever shortening, ever dying, turned, became slowly longer, ever less inexplicably dark, we can go forward from darkness to light, from fear to joy. But we will always be more able if we go hand in hand, our hearts warm and our minds open.
Thanks to you, Zim for prompting this bit of philosophizin’.