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Christmas: The Pope is right

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Being December as it is, the gorging on overstocked food and shameless commericalism of the Christmas season has begun in earnest. Same as with every year.

I agree heartily with Pope Benedict XVI’s frustration with what Christmas has become. The Pope suggested putting Nativity scenes in every home as a remedy to the commercial pollution. But in these days of politically correct “Winterval,” how realistic is that? This suggestion is likely to be thoroughly ignored.

Every Christmas time would appear, in the mostly secular West, to be a great opportunity to party hardy, drink too much, eat to excess and expect the world to be delivered under the “holiday tree” (formerly known, scandalously, as the Christmas tree).

This is the reason why, for many years now, Christmas has put a sour taste in my mouth. I am not a bah-humbug with regard to the Christian holiday; I simply part ways with the joke that it has become.

What I don’t want – I assure you – is some heavy-handed theocratic Christmas. But what I would like to see is a toning down of the excesses that this time of the season produces. I’m tired of hearing how much weight people fear they’ll gain over Christmas. Simple – don’t be a glutton. I’m sick of listening to people whine about the fears they have that their family and friends may not like their gifts. It’s the thought that counts, and their nearest-and-dearest should have been taught to realize that.

Christmas is supposed to be about goodwill, family get-togethers and going the extra mile for just a few weeks out of every year. Even if you don’t believe in Jesus, you can take on some of His spirit for a season that is supposed to be held in the honor of His birth.

Instead, Christmas is always the most stressful season of the year. People seem to be nastier than ever in their mad rush to please inflated expectations: I must throw the best party, and I must buy the best presents! So much for goodwill. The holiday spirit is more about keeping up with the Jones’ and shoving people out of the way for the latest must-have product.
Can’t we all calm down? Can we not teach children about a simpler Christmas message – one of hope and thankfulness, one from which we adults could learn plenty as well?

It seems to me, Christian or not, this is not a lot to ask. I do not dislike Christmas for what it is supposed to be; I loathe what it has become. Pope Benedict XVI is right. Time to clean up our polluted holiday.

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About Nightdragon

  • Shark

    Christmas is over-commercialized!?

    Wow!

    What a creative, original thought!

    Thanks for sharing!

    ======

    “…The Pope suggested putting Nativity scenes in every home…”

    … $69.95 each — available at Wal-Mart; 75% off after Dec. 25th…

    ===========

    PS: Shark does xmas…

  • Baronius

    Mark, consumerism used to bother me every Christmas too. But then I realized that I can’t do anything about it, so I won’t let it bug me. As with anything else, all I can do is act as I hope everyone else would.

    It seems that as society loses its sense of religion, its ceremonies get bigger. We make our Christmases louder and more expensive to mask the diminishment in meaning. Ditto weddings, ditto bar mitzvahs. And don’t get me started on the feast days of St. Patrick and St. Valentine.

  • KYS

    Not being Christian I have no problem with the commercialization of Xmas. We do celebrate, though, because the country virtually shuts down for a day and there’s nothing else to do.

    I’m going to buy my family gift certificates to the Outback Steakhouse and 12-packs of Heineken Keg Cans. I will name stars after them. I will fight to the death for the latest Grand Theft Auto game for my very young nephews and I will spend crazy cash on sparkly wrapping paper and bows. For dinner we’ll make a Turducken ( http://www.cruftbox.com/cruft/docs/turduckhen.html) and yams with marshmellows on top and eat till we bust. Then we’ll wait for my Uncle Lou to have too much to drink and bait him into an argument about the economy. Good times.

    The previously described Christmas is just as American as any other.

    My advice: worry about peace, kindness and love all year long, and on December 25th, create as much disfunction as you can muster. Doesn’t that make more sense?

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Good points, Baronness. This was only my POV, stating what I feel should be done. That’s all. I realize I can’t do anything about it, but, for my part, I practice what I preach. Christmas at our place is low-key. Just family and we don’t overdo it with the food nor do we spend a lot on gifts. We appreciate the season for what it should be.

    You’re right, though. When the spiritual aspect of an event has been thrown out, making it louder and brasher seems to be the only way of preserving it. Only problem is, by that stage, it’s morphed into something almost totally different.

  • Shark

    “…Only problem is, by that stage, it’s morphed into something almost totally different.”

    Morph?

    You mean like going from Mithra’s Birthday –> Winter Solstice–> Saturnalia –>Jesus’ Birthday…?

    ========
    Manning: “…nor do we spend a lot on gifts…”

    Major Irony: a capitalist Republican advocating wrecking the economy based on personal religious beliefs.

    No… wait…

    [Shark glances at GW Bush on TV marketing his war in Iraq]

    …sorry… it’s not THAT rare…

    Nevermind.

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Shark, if you knew as much about conservative politics as you pretend to, you’d know there was a line drawn in the sand between economic conservatives/capitalists and social conservatives.

    Social conservatives, while capitalist, decry consumerism as the most important factor in our lives – it is a morally bankrupt thing. Yes, it’s good for the economy and should be encouraged but at a moderate pace. It’s bad when people nearly bankrupt themselves to impress others during a time of the year that should be about relaxing … and you need look no further than the issue of illegal immigration – Wall Street capitalists want to keep the flow coming, social conservatives want to staunch it.

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    mark, i’m with ya on the utra-commercialization thing. that film footage the day after thanksgiving of near-riots as the stores opened….kinda sickening.

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Thanks, Mark. It is very sickening. The holidays are not about this, but try telling that to the average Joe or Jane Sixpack. Tough task; depressing results.