It’s December 23, 2013, and right now, my level of “Christmas spirit”, whatever that is, is just about zero. Zip, zilch, nada. Apparently, I’m not alone, as WikiHow says that “many people fail to be full of the Christmas Spirit” and provides this (frankly horrifying) list of ways to “be happy during the holidays.” (That list alone was enough to make me want to throw up; read it at your own risk.)
Mostly, I’m just sick of the whole thing. I’m sick of the people who are loudly and vehemently railing against “the war on Christmas”, and I’m also thoroughly sick of the people who are waging what I call “the war on the war on Christmas”. I’m sick of debates about the racial identity of Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas and Jesus. I’m sick of hearing “Silver Bells” in stores (for the last 53 days), and I’m sick of the morally superior “Occupy Advent” types who are so damned smug in their repudiations of the secular Christmas season. I’m sick of retailers telling me that it’s my duty to buy everything from an iPhone to a new Honda and that it just won’t be Christmas if I don’t, and I’m sick of the anti-consumerist movement telling me why they “don’t do Christmas”. (Don’t get me wrong, Krista Tippett’s article on that theme isn’t bad. If you’re not as fed up as I am, you should probably read it.) I’m sick of the people who want to “keep Christ in Christmas,” the people who want to “keep X in Xmas,” the people who want to “keep Mass in Christmas (or Xmas),” and the people who want to defend “the reason for the season” with a fervor not seen since the McCarthy hearings. I’m even sick of Linus reminding Charlie Brown of the true meaning of Christmas. And if I see one more creepy “elf on a shelf” being used to extort small children into good behavior, I’m going to call Child Protective Services. I swear, it feels like I’ve spent the last seven weeks locked in a school bus with a couple of dozen squabbling siblings. I don’t even CARE who’s right anymore, I JUST WANT THE BICKERING TO STOP!!! AAAAUGH!
The good news is, it doesn’t matter one damn bit how I feel about Christmas, or how you feel about it. NOT. ONE. BIT. It doesn’t matter if we’re Ebenezer Scrooge with a bad case of hemorrhoids, or if we’re all in the running to be Head Elf. It doesn’t matter if we’re resolutely singing “Prepare the Royal Highway” and dressing up in camel hair and leather belts, defending Advent from the encroachment of Christmas, or if we put up the tree and started singing “Joy to the World” the day after Halloween. Because the real truth of Christmas is that IT HAS HAPPENED. It’s DONE. The Word became flesh and lived among us. God intervened irrevocably in human history, and did so on behalf of the winners and the losers, the haters and debaters, the smugly superior on both sides of the Christmas divide. It doesn’t matter one damn bit whether I, or you, or anybody else has Christmas spirit; what matters is God’s unending, unwavering Spirit of self-giving love. It doesn’t matter whether we “do” Christmas, or “do” Advent, or “do” gifts or not. Completely irrespective of our involvement, our feelings, our participation or even our involvement, God DID Christmas. Period.
Ahhh. I actually feel better about Christmas now. Think I’ll go have some eggnog.