Monday, December 15, 2008

'Tis the season to... muse.

It's less than two weeks until Christmas, and I am slightly bemused at how many people are surprised that it is less than two weeks until Christmas. I remember how, when I was much younger, the build up to christmas was often more exciting than the actual event. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the opening of presents and the eating of food, but once it was all done, well... it was all done. I always seemed to feel a sense of bathos, (an abrupt, unintended transition in style from the exalted to the commonplace), which usually began on Boxing day and lasted until sometime within the first few weeks of the new year. The older I got, the more I became consciously aware of this feeling. I still feel it. However, since I am now firmly enmeshed in the world of adults, which is distinguished by the need to earn a living and be responsible, the feeling is less intense, and far more brief.

I guess, upon reflection, it is understandable why people are surprised when Christmas arrives. Even though the season is festive and music, food, clothing, etc tend to be centered on the holidays, there are a few mitigating factors for the lack of awareness that leads to the biggest holiday surprise of them all, that Christmas has come and gone. First, since life continues whether or not there are holidays, said life must be maintained, which means work and responsiblities are major claiments on our attention. Second, I don't know about you, but I have never been able to nail down an actual date as to when the holidays actually begin. It seems that the tired old statement that the holidays seem to start earlier every year may have a modicum of truth to it. This is important to our discussion in that since the holiday festivities all start far before the actual day, we become inured to the Christmas spirit in the same way that we form calluses. We begin to become desensitized to the Christmas spirit and all that it represents, and it often becomes a burden to be endured instead of a joy to be experienced.

I don't want to sound like I am one of those who have left Christmas behind with their childhood; far from it. In fact, on some visceral level, I still believe in Santa Clause. I love hearing my children talk about Christmas, and Santa, and the birth of Christ, and what they want as well as what they want to give, etc. I love the carols, and the colours of the season. I love it that for even a brief amount of time, people are more aware of others. Although this awareness should encompass a global democratic, rather than just local ones, and it should span the whole year instead of a few weeks, the fact that it is there at all is, in its own way, a miracle.

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