Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas Blues

 

He had to work the day after Christmas. It was cruel. Grotesque. Unfair. Gone were the college and school days of two weeks off for Christmas. Unmet too was the normal adult vacation days you would receive as you got older. He was now in limbo.

He woke up with the darkness. He lied in bed. Tried to shake the heaviness off. The world awaited him far away. He was still holed up in a cave, a womb of blankets and post-sleep weariness and possibly post-partum depression caused by the baby Jesus. Was he in a coma? Was he in a world far away? Was he in a cabin in the tundra, where snowdrifts piled up on the outside log walls creating an insulated sound? Was there a fireplace? He hoped so. But he could not hear it.

His wife had to work too. She was already gone. Left at 8:30 this morning. He was going to work from home. But as he lay there he knew that if he worked from home he would only feel the darkness more, probably end up spending the majority of his day looking at boobs on a computer screen. So he left for work. Put his pants on.

It wasn’t too bad. He had his dog and his cigarettes to keep him company. He had after all been expecting this. The post-Christmastime darkness. It was inevitable. All the build up and shiny lights and sparkly presents. The joyful nature in the air. The sense of peace and joy and being with loved ones. The days following were no match. After December there was quite the lull in days to look forward to. In the fall there was Thanksgiving and then Christmas and then New Years. But in January, what was there in the future? Easter? Columbus day? Valentines Day? Those were all pretty shitty holidays compared to Christmas. Not much time off either.

Even New Years wasn’t that good. In fact, he thought of New Years as the most anti-climactic night in history. Nothing happened. You drank champagne. Watched a ball drop from the sky. It was always disappointing. One night in high school he had snuck out to go to a party on New Years Eve. He never went to parties but he decided that he needed to go to at least one raging high school party before he graduated. He didn’t drink much. I mean, he knew how to drink, he just didn’t do it much. The guilt of lying to his parents and telling them he was spending the night at Adams almost made the party unbearable. He would have to get drunk. So that night he got drunk and wandered around and realized he didn’t know people as well as he thought he was. He tried to fit in. Who knows if he did a good job. It was pretty boring actually. Movies and T.V. have a way of making high school and college parties look epic. He had never been to one of these. Mostly it was just crowded. Sure, there were drunk people and the random girl who would kiss you but that was about it. Maybe he lived in the wrong places. The girl he liked, who had invited him to this party, kept ignoring him and everyone else said the same thing to him, “I didn’t know you drank!” Eventually he met some snowboarders and they offered to get him high, which he did, in the back of a green jeep. He had never been drunk and high. He felt like he was walking on the moon. He even tried to jump down the gravel road like there was no gravity. Then he got sick and stared at a wall for an indiscernible amount of time while everyone gathered to watch some “ball” drop. And this was one of the more memorable New Years Eves. He couldn’t even remember what he did last year.

He knew that the days after Christmas would simply feel empty. Not too much more than usual. But slightly. He couldn’t take time off. Not just because he was American and addicted to work, but because he was the owner of a small business. As the owner of a small business you don’t get days off. Very rarely. His only comfort was that, as the owner of a small business, perhaps one day he would receive the accolades of fame, glory, and hundred dollar bills, or an early retirement that might await him at the end of this venture. Otherwise what was it all for?

He didn’t know if he wanted to sleep or drink or watch movies or what. He should probably exercise. Work might actually feel good. Make him feel as if he was doing something.

His chemical pill was in his black jean coin pocket. He knew if he swallowed it with a glass of water it would make him feel dizzy. But if he didn’t take it he would go down a dark rabbit hole.

 He had to make this decision every day. Whether or not he wanted to feel the dizziness or the darkness. Some days he chose dizzy. Some days darkness.

He felt empty. Dizzy. Probably had to do with his relationship with The Father. Or The Mother. Or The Son. Or lack thereof.

He counted the days left. He was twenty-five. If he lived to be eighty that would be fifty-five years of life. 55 X 365=20,075 days left on this earth. Twenty-thousand and seventy-five days left.

Oh god, working the day after Christmas is so depressing. 

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A Tale of Two Christmases: Jesus, Race, and Christmas in December 2013

 

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A word before: We are all hypocrites. I am a hypocrite. That guy over there shoveling his driveway is a hypocrite. You have most likely been a hypocrite at some point. Liberals, Conservatives, Christians, and Atheists—all hypocrites. This is not so much a statement of judgment as it is a statement of human nature. It is unavoidable and so wonderfully human. All of us have double standards and fail to practice what we preach, simultaneously looking down on others who do the same thing. We have so many logs in our eyes we could start a lumber mill.

  That being said, I am about to criticize something in which the act of criticizing will itself be an act of hypocrisy, because I am in fact criticizing the vast swarm of words, opinions, responses, and re-posts that have a tendency to take over the internets and our modern day consciousness. So now I will simply add to the chatter (though for your sake, hopefully briefly) and then depart to spend at least one day, God-willing, in some form of peace and quiet before Christmas, because really that’s why I’m so perturbed. It seems as if we are in a rather confusing tale about two Christmases.

There is one Christmas as celebrated by orthodox Christians in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus into a manger, coming not as King, but as beggar and blue-collar worker, born amid shit and hay, eventually coming to signify and proclaim the reconciliation of heaven, earth, and nations, and trumpeting peace, joy, love, and life. There is another Christmas, which is on the surface very similar looking, which is the Christmas of empire and generally speaking, America, in which pundits on both sides use the day of Christmas as fodder to further their political, ideological, and religious views and people bludgeon each other to death with action figures.

 

Backup: What a week. In case you didn’t know the Internet has been erupting like a volcano of old this past week. First there was the Fox lady who claimed both Jesus and Santa were white, there’s the whole ongoing NSA investigation which we really should’ve seen coming what with all the Bourne movies, Utah became the 17th state to recognize gay marriage, and then surprise! A guy from Louisiana says he doesn’t understand gay people and makes a few other racial/homophobic slurs.  Cue the matches. Cue the gasoline. Internet ignite. Post after post and article after article have been written and the comments below make me want to double-lock my door at night and get a pit-bull. Two good articles are:https://benirwin.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/phil-robertson-and-pope-francis/-about Christian “persecution” and seeing human beings as humans, and: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/the-real-em-duck-dynasty-em-scandal-phil-robertsons-comments-on-race/282538/

 

A few observations however.

1. Politics and religion need a long overdue divorce.

Or if that’s too much, the hypocrisy amongst supposed “Christians” on either side of the political aisle has simply gone too far. Sarah Palin saying that she loves the “commercialization” of Christmas and Megyn Kelley claiming Jesus was white, or using the saying “Merry Christmas” as another bullet in the culture war gun are just a few examples from the conservative side. On the left the whole PC thing can get taken a little too far. There is however a difference between being politically correct and respecting all people regardless of race, age, gender, sex, or religion. The line however, is where the arguments erupt. Was it the liberal police making a big deal of man simply espousing his religious beliefs? Or was Robertson a racist homophobe who went too far in his disrespectful comments? Realistically it was probably neither extreme. Regardless, in these scenarios the Internet wins and we divide against ourselves, even in the church.

 I for one cringe whenever I hear someone say something disrespectful with regards to homosexuality in the media. “Please don’t let it be a Christian,” I think. “Please don’t let it be a Christian. No! It is a Christian!” In all of this we lose sight of the true gospel of Jesus and obviously, the season of Christmas. A season, which is wonderful for us Christians, but should also not be fascistly imposed upon the rest of America, regardless of the “fact” that this is a supposed “Christian” nation and always has been. Christians have for far too long now gotten swept up in a culture war with a vendetta against certain specific sins, while ignoring others. Sin after all is sin. And the sin of materialism and greed that takes over this sacred holiday of ours is just as big of a deal as homosexuality (if you do believe it’s a sin in a monogamous marriage relationship).

America is going down the toilet say some. But I have a feeling it has to do more with our lack of concern for the poor and our preoccupation with money and power than it does with the homosexual agenda. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

 2. Jesus came to reconcile all nations.

Jesus most likely looked like a member of the Taliban. This is just a geographical/historical fact. His parents were not Norwegian but Middle Eastern Jews. Throughout Jesus’ ministry he constantly hung around with “undesirables” such as Samaritans, the sick, and gentiles. There is the story of the Woman at the Well. The Roman Centurion. The Good Samaritan. The list goes on. The Bible itself criticizes sins of idolatry and greed more than anything else, but we tend to lose sight of this.        

In America we have sent people of color to different water fountains and sent Japanese people to internment camps. My wife’s older family members spent a considerable amount of time at the camp in Manzanar in the desert of California. Her grandfather had to have someone else purchase land to build a house on for him because he was Japanese and would not be sold to.

And yet, somehow we hear this saying that Jesus has come to bring peace and reconcile all nations. The Jews and Greeks. Men and women. White and black. Straight and gay. How does it all work? I have no freaking idea. But I do know that we are at the very least called to participate in this proclamation of peace in whatever way we can. That means respecting and even loving our enemies and those we disagree with. It means being a jar of clay rather than a clanging symbol. It means, I think, maybe quieting ourselves and living out this thing day after day in humility and service of others.

Unfortunately I’m sure there are many lovely people who are doing wonderful things for others over Christmas, and Christians loving Gay people even if they disagree with their lifestyle, and people who are not caught up in the culture wars and hate comments, but these people will never get recognized because at the end of the day the only bias all media has is conflict. Sometimes it’s pro-right and sometimes pro-left but it’s undoubtedly pro-conflict. It’s all about inciting chaos and drumming up the hot topics of the day which really amounts to about the same thing as frying a piece of poop on the oven and calling it sustenance.

 

Ultimately it means praying and waiting for this moment from Revelation 22: “The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Christmas can get over-hyped, over-sold, and easily lost, but if it does still mean anything today, then let it at least mean a day or two when we can all calm down and celebrate the entrance of redemption that started in a barn. 

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