Monday, November 29, 2010

The Groundswell of Frenzy

Thanksgiving has past and the surge of frenetic activity rises until it becomes the impending form of a tsunami, headed for Christmas.

I remember when Christmas was about the baby Jesus, being born in a lowly manger. Christmas was about Christ; the gift that God gave mankind so that there would be someone pure enough to pay the penalty for all our sins. Christmas was about hope, and joy, and the fulfilling of a promise....

Now it seems as though it's about marketing. They even market 'hope' and 'joy', as seen in every made for TV 'christmas special.' It's about shopping. It's about scrabbling and pushing and shoving to get the best deal. It's about senseless buying and eventually returning. It's about tinsel, glitz and lights, packaging and window dressing... All of this frenzied activity, as people desperately make every vain attempt to recapture that illusive feeling of Christmas that they remember from their childhood, or that they have been taunted with on TV. I don't know if the current generation ever got to experience it first hand? Or was it obliterated amid the rush of over scheduled lives, punctuated by endless rounds of electronic gaming?

Oh sure, we want to get presents for people we love... But, do they have to be bigger and better, every year? Do they really have to be expensive at all? Couldn't they be, as originally intended, thoughtful or handmade? I didn't think I was that old, but I remember when nearly everyone made their own cards! I remember when, "it's the thought that counts" was taken at face value.

I was horrified to hear on the news that the majority of Americans still hadn't paid off their credit card debt for last Christmas' expenditures!!! Are you kidding me?! That doesn't seem like "hope & joy" to me. It sounds more like stress and despair.

I wonder how many of the rest of you out there see it? Or is this just another unique blessing from my disability?... Having been forced out of the mainstream, sidelined, benched, and isolated, I see the bigger picture. Standing on the outside looking in, I see just how crazy this all seems. I see how valueless all the stuff is, when just a few minutes of another persons time means all the world to me!

In that pungent stable, on that long ago spring night - no it was not winter; the sheep would not have been in the hills, where the angels went to tell the shepherds the good news, if it was winter. Livestock was brought down into the valleys during the winter. That was a modification the Roman Catholic church promulgated when Emperor Constantine mandated catholacism as the state religion, to appease the people who worshiped the winter solstice...

So, in a pungent stable, smelling of urine and dung, on that long ago spring night, a pure and holy child was born. I sign of promise to all the people! Had that child been born in a kingly palace, amid the wealth and splendor, the pomp and glitz and material goods, He wouldn't have been accessible to everyone. So God spurned the glitz and glamor, the window dressing the frenzy of high society, and instead, came into this world with humility. Mary and Joseph were grateful for what small blessings they had. Shelter, clean bedding, warmth, privacy, a safe delivery of their child... Shouldn't we also count our blessings? Shouldn't that be the model of peace and joy this Christmas?

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