If you like.
If I like? Do you really care so much for my preferences? I wouldn’t, if I were you. In any case, I did promise to say something about this time of year. And I do keep my promises.
Yes, really. I think you’ll find I’m very much the creature of my word. Anyways, it is beginning to look a lot like… well, you know. Such a wonderful time of year, isn’t it? By the look on your face, I’d say you didn’t agree with that.
No. I would just imagine Christmas means as much disappointment for some people as Thanksgiving.
Oh, that and more, certainly. There are whole syndromes about what the season does to people.
Is that why you call it “wonderful”?
You wound me. I’m not nearly so sadistic as you make me out to be. (I’m much more!) But, no, I call it “wonderful” because it’s full of wonder. As in I wonder sometimes if any of you will ever get it.
The significance of this “season” as you call it.
Many people have noted how the celebration seems to have overtaken the actual event.
Speak English, boy, or don’t speak at all.
The holiday is all about presents, what we get out of it, instead of the real reason.
Yes, yes, that’s it. Consumerism! The great devil of your age. It is better to receive than give. Me, me, mine, mine, more, more, more. He who dies with the most toys… Right? But is that really the worst thing about all of it?
Oh, don’t get me wrong, your greed is simply delicious. The fact that advertisers can take you in every year without fail, that you will shell out so much for what will mean a moment’s happiness at best, is continually entertaining. But, in the end, all of it, the whole holiday industrial complex, is merely a distraction, and one of many. Now, many people will, once they realized that, start genuinely working to eliminate this distraction. They will preach the gospel of less, how we ought to spend less on ourselves, less on things, and more on others, invest in our family, more Tiny Tim, less Scrooge, and all those very good things. And those people may be quite sincere in their efforts, but the fact is they are just as off the mark as the shoppers. That’s the thing about you humans, most of the time, even your charity is a distraction.
The question you need to ask is not: how can I get rid of this distraction? The question you need to ask is: what am I being distracted from? Because, and this is an important lesson, you will never get where you need to go by ridding yourselves of distractions, certainly not by replacing one distraction with another. You will only succeed by finding the thing you are supposed to be focusing on, the thing your distractions have been keeping you from, and follow it. Because when you do the distractions will handle themselves.
So, what are we being distracted from?
The importance. The absolute, monumental, universal, importance of the event you celebrate.
The Birth of Christ.
Bingo. But that you still miss, even when celebrating it. The nativities, the creches, the little light up shepherds and the plastic haloes, what exactly does that convey about the event? Imagine, if you will, how it really happened. Night. A cave somewhere in a dirt town in the backwoods of the world. A girl, scared out of her mind. A man who had no idea what he was getting into. A struggle, the most humble struggle anything can experience: to live, to simply breathe. Dirt and sweat and the stench of cattle. The whole thing is so mundane as to be disgusting. And yet, here, something happened beyond human comprehension. A birth. A miraculous birth, you may recognize it as. But it is more. It is an invasion. It is D-day. The beginning of the end. There is significance here, profound significance, the weight of the very world rests in that manger. All of my kind knows that day, all of us remember it, with pain.
Then why are you smiling?
Look outside. Look at those people rushing to and fro. How many of them do you think actually realize any of that?