Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Reality of Christmas

It's once again been a long time since I wrote anything. At least on this blog. Unlike my previous excuse, the reason hasn't really been that nothing is happening. The truth is I've had a lot on my mind the past couple months. I'm currently going through several situations––any one of which would normally consume most of my emotional and mental energy––at the same time. But since none of them are really of the nature that I feel comfortable broadcasting on the interwebs, and at the same time are in some way touching almost all of my actions and decisions right now, I've simply ended up saying nothing at all. Or maybe I'm just slowly losing my ability to compartmentalize.

At any rate, it's been a different Christmas season this year. Not a bad one––everything has really been there that I normally think of making a "good" Christmas. I've just had a harder time internally engaging. A lot on my mind, like I said, and it seems like it's hard to grasp at something as ethereal as the emotion or "spirit" surrounding a holiday unless your mind is pretty nearly free.

Maybe feeling that way about Christmas is a little bit of a fallacy though. After all, it's about some people who probably had "a lot on their minds"––if you believe in all that, which I do. I mean, the "Christmas story" is really about people who were going through some pretty serious shit.

Getting pregnant out of wedlock/you're fiancĂ©e getting pregnant of out wedlock (not by you) in a society that wasn't cool with that at all, having to go on a long journey to pay taxes full of complete logistical breakdowns like not having anywhere to stay and giving birth in a stable. Not to even mention getting visited at night by angels with apocalyptic messages, being the target of a minor pogrom, and having to flee to Egypt (a conflict journalist I follow recently wrote something about being evacuated from Syria to Lebanon: "When you're being evacuated to Lebanon, you know you're f––––d." I don't know much about the geopolitical situation in 2 AD, but as a Jew, I wonder if Joseph was like, "wait, we're fleeing to Egypt?"). Basically, a lot of hardship, angst and uncertainty.

Were those people in the Christmas spirit? I doubt it. The point isn't how they felt about it though. It's the reality of what they were a part of, and the fact that based on their faith in that reality they had the determination to keep going and do what they had to to see it through.

So maybe that's more what this Christmas needs to be about for me. I mean, I'm all about evergreen boughs and mistletoe and brandywyne and snow and reindeer and fires other things of questionable religio-historical origin that scratch some primal itch in my foggy northern European cultural memory.  And I'm all about the traditional warm-fuzzy feel good church view of the candle-lit manger scene and baby Jesus smiling at Mary and Joseph.

But maybe it can also be about people who have a lot on their mind. 


No comments: