Technically not correct, as I’m writing this at 12:35, which is barely Christmas Afternoon, to say nothing of Evening. But I was in two minds as whether to post this today or tomorrow, and today won out after I realized I’m going to be spending most of tomorrow with relations. So. As a result of that, I’m submitting my opinion of Christmas before I’ve actually experienced any of the customary celebrations that accompany it. Perhaps I’ll come back and change this after all is done.
This year, it was brought back to me forcibly how it is more blessed to give than to receive. Particularly, it was brought back to me in a white Elephant gift exchange with my bible study. I gave away a pair of two-dollar dart guns and got a great deal of enjoyment out of watching them in use. What did I receive? A big bag full of newspapers.
Newspapers. Who gives week-old newspapers as a GIFT? Ah well. Partly my fault for picking the one gift in a paper shopping bag.
But in all fairness, I did enjoy the box of chocolates I received from my work, and the movies I got from another white elephant exchange were kinda cool. So receiving is pretty cool too. I must say, though, that I’m more excited about how my gift will go over than whatever is in my own package on the mantelpiece. Though perhaps that is more due to my habit of buying presents that I myself would like. Last year I think I actually gave my sister a book of mine I was sick of (and a Nancy Drew game), and I KNOW in past years some of the video games I’ve bought for brothers are ones I simply wanted to play myself. Somewhat selfish giving, I suppose.
One of the guys I work with actually doesn’t exchange gifts with his family on Christmas, because he says the materialism detracts from the message of Christ giving to Earth. Instead, his family gives things out on Fourth of July. Weird, because they live in New Zealand. Of course, in principle, the idea of giving–something very resonant with Christ’s arrival–is supposed to be the dominant aspect of Christmas, but that does often get twisted around, so you can see where this guy is coming from. Still. Got to be rough on the kids.
Christ’s arrival. Reminds me of the infamous “war on Christmas.” Y’know… “Merry Xmas,” “Happy Holidays,” “Season’s Greetings,” stuff like that. I don’t think this is an actual conspiracy, more just a natural result of some people being too nice and others too whiny. And, of course, the general downplaying of these things that happens all over the world these days. This comic mocks the inherent logical problems involved
Amusing, as this comic has it’s own hints of multi-culturalism at times. No matter how hard we try to be completely inclusive, you can’t really get rid of the roots. America’s heritage IS Christian, no matter how hard even Americans try to forget that, and it shows in the littlest things, like the timing of “holiday” break. France, widely hailed as the most tolerant/inclusive nation in the world, still hasn’t managed to make itself a perfectly neutral ground.
But when you think about it, “Christmas” is itself a form of “Christ mass,” a Roman Catholic ceremony, which was itself a replacement for ancient pagan winter festivals. So perhaps it’s not worth getting so bent out of shape about the name. It is worth remembering that their are other cultures in America who feel a little left out by all the Christmas buzz. This guy at work I talk to was born in Africa, and his family isn’t nearby, so all the Christmas celebration his American wife gets him into is a little… disorienting for him.
Still. As Christmas IS the holiday I’m celebrating, and as the timing of this post is clearly designed for a specific “holiday” this “season,” I see no reason to disguise my intentions. I would like to wish all my readers, in a truly cliche’ and overworked fashion, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.