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Monday, December 25, 2017

The Holidays.

There is a lot of riding on Christmas. Financial solvency, sprititual fulfillment, connecting, sharing, expensive, flashy displays of affection, all wrapped in festive paper with a neat bow. It is almost more than one day should have to bear.

I attended a Catholic school. One cold, bleak December day, the halls filled with green and red decorations, trees, bells, big white construction paper snowflakes, all in fevered anticipation of the coming winter break. Our religion teacher, a priest of unusual candor and a refreshing lack of pretense, told us that if you were a Christian, a true believer, the big holiday was Easter, when He died and arose and provided absolution for all of our sins. It was a matter of fact reply to a question I can’t remember. But, in a room full of high schoolers nobody really cared. And, today I don’t really see any proof. 

It was easy to understand his reasoning, then and it is now. But, just like a room full of high schoolers, nobody really cares about which holiday has more profound spiritual overtones. People go crazy for Christmas. Traffic is wild, even grocery shopping takes a sinister turn during the Christmas season. Goodwill towards men is a lovely platitude, but it has no real utility when sour cream is on sale and there are only two left on the shelf. Every man for himself, only the strong survive. We will just see who wants the sour cream more, damnit. Merry Christmas, loser.

Even in high school I was not sure of all the teachings and dogma of a church. As I aged and more of the practices, the real practices, of so many different faiths splashed across headlines and television screens I drifted further from the way. It isn’t that I think religion is bad, I just worry about the people who interpret the meaning. As an explanation for life it is wonderful, not as dramatic as mythology, but just as believable.  

Believing is as individual as gift giving. No matter how you choose to worship, or not worship is ok with me. No matter what you are celebrating this season I am happy for you. I am spending the day with my family, and I will say a silent prayer of thanks, thanks for my family, thanks for the smiles of my sons, which are still immeasurable treasures, thanks for the love and affection of my wife, the greatest gift I have ever received. Thanks for our health, even though one of us is decidedly under the weather. And thanks to anybody who took the time to read this, to you I am particularly grateful.

Happy Holidays to all of you.