It’s that time of year
Pardon me for deviating from the content of this blog slightly, but I mean to relate it to the general intent of this forum, honest. In several days, a number of Americans will be celebrating Christmas, or something like it. You see, as a Christian, I intend to celebrate it with much of the traditional fare: the familiar pilgrimage of family members to my parents’ house, a tentative evening of celebration with blood relatives to whom I don’t have much of a connection beyond that, then the enjoyment of a select few presents (a process that now consists more of a select few necessities given out of charity by mom and dad at this age) while my little brother wallows in several hundred dollars in gifts that my father would never purchase if not for this special day.
However, one thing I fear is that in all the ritualization and commercialization, people neglect the actual significance of this time of year. Put in less syllabically-endowed terms, people focus on two things: getting away from the relatives they have to see, and getting a bunch of crap they would not otherwise bust the budget to obtain. They come to associate this season with these two fundamental elements. The real meaning of this season is neither. It is about the celebration of the birth of Christ. This event singly altered the course of human history, as one man spoke Good News to people in the Levant. This holiday is, at its core, a religious event that has been commercialized, secularized, and bastardized in a way that others, like Hanukkah, have managed to avoid. Please excuse me for the cliché, but this time of year is meant to express the things we were given, not what we are trying to reject or what we are about to receive. I believe that with the birth of Jesus Christ, I was given a perfect savior who gives me unconditional love and grace, and that he saved my life. That was given to me, that’s what makes my life worth living, and it breaks my heart to see this time turned into a manifestation of American greed and familial degradation. The focus during this time should be on the glorious event that inspired it, not the processed, beaten, familiar, idiosyncratic display of avarice and disdain. God bless us, and I only hope this modern, pseudo-holiday that Americans have created doesn’t drown out the real reason for Christmas.