Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Are You Feelin the Joy Yet? Musings and Threats from a Recovering Catholic

I’ve been talking about it for years. That annual empty threat of canceling Christmas. Retreating to some quiet pastoral space to reflect, alone, in the moment, the general peace that comes over me when I know that I don’t have to worry about hosting a party, breaking the bank with useless gifts and dealing with the general bedlam that ensues anytime more than two members of my family are in the same room together. Past years have been all talk and no action, but the seemingly endless mound of steaming bullshit that has made 2007 so craptacular has fostered a renewed resolve in me to boycott all things “ho ho ho.” That includes trees, garlands, cards, “happy holidays” wishes, cookies (well, maybe not cookies) and most importantly, gifts. The reasons for what others will speculate as a Bah Humbug approach to December 25th will likely dance around issues of childlessness, laziness, low funds or a combination of the three. There is truth to the laziness bit, but in reality I’m calling the whole thing off because I just don’t enjoy it anymore. In the past I eagerly anticipated the big day, made plans and had an overall feeling of love and “spirit” if you will for my fellow humans – related and otherwise. Now it looms as an abysmal reminder of purchases, preparations and obligations. And the kicker is that I’m not even a Christian. My family identifies themselves as Catholic, though this seems to be more in name than actions (except for my mother – all true Christian props to her for all time). But in America, let’s face it Christmas is nothing more than a marketing campaign. Messages are blurred, kids are confused. I’m doing my part to ignore it but each day a new card arrives and I begin to get those residually Catholic pangs of guilt that somehow I should reciprocate, however small, a gesture of goodwill in the form of a widget from China. Can I hold my ground? Stand firm in my resolve? There are 14 days till the big one and I’ve got no tree, no cards and no gifts. Will December 24th be filled with a caffeine induced shopping frenzy at the nearest mall? Will I finally put a bullet in my television if one more Garmin ad interrupts my nightly Colbert rerun? Stay tuned………Om mani padme hum

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