Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Holiday Battle

It's that time of year again, when the trappings of Christmas appear ever earlier than the year just past. When the seasonal isle could leave one confused to which holiday comes next - is it Halloween? Or Thanksgiving? No, it's Christmas. When radio stations provide alternative channels for those who want to sneak in as much Christmas as possible. When the rants and despite appear against those who should know better than to mix their holidays.

Mostly, I just ignore the anger and judgment. Why spend my precious energy being upset about how someone else chooses to celebrate a holiday? Why turn my focus away from value and waste it on contentions that can only distract from the good I seek? Why attack traditions others embrace for not being as 'pure' as they should be? Why draw battle lines by stating 'you must stand in line, wait your turn, keep quiet, stop bothering us!'?

How much hubris is it to state that celebrating Christ's birth and all that means for the world can and should only happen in the manner you feel fitting? What? Is this: My way or the highway? Everyone knows that such an attitude only breeds antagonism and enmity. Why does this keep happening?

I actually asked a girl on twitter why she would choose to hate Christmas because other people aren't celebrating the right thing, in other words - celebrating wrong. It was an honest question, but she chose not to see it that way. She got mad that I dared question her and ended by claiming I was accusing her of being Marxist. What does Marxism have to do with this? Frankly, I haven't bothered looking it up to figure it out.

Part of the reason this is so troubling to me is because I am one who tends to be ready for Christmas earlier than most. I do not understand why this should be attacked. I have tried to express this conflict before (see post from last year - You Say, Sir, You Hate Christmas, inspired by the 'I Hate Christmas' song/refrain). Yet it never seems to translate to others. So I will try to explain, again, better, I hope, here.

I think I must have formed a different sort of relationship with the season of Christmas. This only occurred to me last month when discussing it with a friend. He has never had much connection with holidays in general and, as we talked, it appeared that as his family had never engaged much with holidays, he had no real emotional attachment. If anything, it seemed to me that everyone must appear to him as quite carried away by holidays all around.

Once I finally wrapped my head around the different perspective, I saw that my own is not only a reflection of my past, but very likely foreign to the perspectives of others. As I've seen the complaints and condemning, I have pondered how I can better express why I am so ready to embrace Christmas earlier than the average person on the street.

I have not hidden the fact that my years at home were far from ideal. Those issues are addressed in other posts. Simply stated - they were a time of what is known as hyper-vigilance, an uber-awareness that comes from long-term exposure to unfriendly/hostile environments. In many ways, home was a trap I could not escape, and deep in my sub-conscious was a fear that it would always be that way.

Except for Christmas.

It wasn't that home dynamics changed during Christmas. It was that the dynamics of the world change during the Christmas season. Unlike any other time of year, so many people open their hearts to love, to think of others, to give, to help, to spreading kindness and cheer. These are all characteristics of charity - the pure love of Christ. The event that inspires this is celebrating His birth. It is shown in music and lights and food and decorations and programs and even in fictive, festive characters. And this spirit envelopes the world and touches even the hearts of misers. Of course it would resonate so deeply with me.

Christmas has always been the time where I've felt peace and even a safety - like everything would work out. I crave that feeling. And Christmas lights in the tree help me feel it. I don't think of it so much as a tradition. It's like how a candle's glow is comforting, too. Only the lights are colored and they make pretty patterns on the walls as they gently fade in and out. They are a symbol of Christmas which is when things are better. And things are better because of Christ. Christmas is my lifeline to hope. And I cling to it.

Consider the bleakness in the world without Christ - a mortal world bound to Murphy's law, where nations destroy nations and only records are left, until, they, too, fall to dust. Where there is no reason to expect that anything done in life has meaning so why not give in to our baser natures? Why respect any other living being like unto ourselves? Perhaps when the emptiness and despair of such an outlook is comprehended can the depth of my yearning for the joy and light and peace and promise that Christ's birth brings.

Consider that it is a time when everyone gets the chance to be shown they matter. To us. To Him.
The child's delight at the special things possible this one time of year.
The deeper symbolism if paired with the pagan festival celebrating the successful passage once again past the longest night of the year.

Consider that His birth is the greatest promise ever made, fulfilled on Easter, and we get to share that light and truth and joy with others - that we are the 'lower lights' to His great beacon. Like in candles, and Christmas lights set under the star.

So, yes, my tree is up and has been for weeks. With so many dark things happening in the world, I wanted the comfort that the Christmas spirit brings. The spirit of promise and hope and love and peace and cleansing and healing. Even if it angers others, I will turn to those things which help me 'always remember Him' and keep His spirit to be with me. And I will welcome this season as early as I can.

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