This Christmas thing has got out of hand
WILL I, won’t I? I’ve been uttering these words to myself over the last few days. And then in the middle of my procrastination I saw someone referring to the word in this manner: ‘Chr*s*m*s’. The journalist was on a campaign not to mention the word Christmas during the month of November. He was having great difficulty. I understand what he is saying, sympathise with him and wish him well.
This Christmas thing has got out of hand. Once Halloween is over and the pumpkins are cleared out of the shops all the Christmas tinsel appears. Surely it’s as clear as the noses on our faces that it is all about seducing customers to empty their pockets and hand over their money to retailers.
In simple plain language Christmas has become one gigantic con job where we are all being fooled to hand over our money for stuff we don’t want or need.Add Black Friday and Cyber Monday to the mix and you would not need to be too smart to realise the madness that Christmas has become.
There is a number of aspects about the Christmas frenzy that makes it all so strange, crazy and yes, ironic. The further we move away from any appreciation or belief system in the birth of Jesus Christ, believing that he is the Son of God, the more we seem to be seduced by Christmas. How can that make sense? It probably doesn’t and is another reason to realise how odd human behaviour can be.
I have a Martyn Turner calendar hanging on my kitchen wall. For the month of November, the cartoonist quotes two psychologists who have observed that we are all a miasma of bias and prejudice that it is almost impossible for anyone actually to declare a truth or have a genuine, accurate memory. Turner uses the idea to throw some light on the Trump phenomenon and how people can easily be persuaded to believe in someone or something, irrespective of the person’s worth or the value of what is being said.
But the quote set me thinking about what sort of freedom do we really have. How easy it is to plant some idea into our heads and then we run with it as fast as we can. Have you ever been simply gobsmacked by crazy ideas you have heard from people? And so often the more the person is so convinced in her/his opinion or belief, the zanier is the idea.
Most of us have been seduced into believing that in order to enjoy Christmas we have to buy X, Y and Z. We also have to go places and do things because if we don’t we might be missing out on something. The pressure keeps mounting.It’s as mad as that. But it proves an amazingly winning formula for people who are trying to divest us of our hard-earned money.
So now you might be saying that I remind you of Dickens’s Christmas Scrooge.Not at all. Christmas is a great time of year to remind ourselves of the extraordinary belief in the incarnation, God becoming human. The belief that points to a resurrection, an after-life, that has already tenuously begun, is in process and reaches a perfection beyond our understanding in communion with God.
Surely Advent is a far finer lead up to Christmas than the hysteria of Black Friday or Cyber Monday, all that frenetic shopping and driving into intolerable traffic jams.
Peace be with you this Christmas season.