It’s hard to remember a Christmas Eve and Christmas day that was more visually stunning and uncomfortably comfortable than this one. The kids grew up and the dog died. I retired, so now I have no incentive to do any of the traditional Christmas functions. I am liberated from the capitalist oppression of Christmas, and free also from the Church’s relentless intellectual hegemony with its mythical birth narrative, seductive music and rituals.
The Winter Solstice on the 21st was actually more spiritual and profound for me than Christmas. I officiated at a wedding service for a couple of friends of mine; both having been married previously, they didn’t want a big service. We said the vows, signed the papers and had a party until midnight. That was fun. We smoked a turkey on Christmas Eve. It came out perfect. On Christmas day we gathered at eldest son’s place and let the little ones open packages. Everyone was healthy. The weather was exquisite. Good time.
I’m not a Christmas hater. I love the parties, food, giving gifts to the kids and the significant other, and even the music. I don’t love the crazy, hostile traffic, the pressure to buy gifts and all the other obligatory activities that come with commercial Christmas. Having studied the matter intensively all of my life, I have real problems with the “baby Jesus in the manger” narrative promulgated by the corporate orthodoxy of the Church. I don’t love the tedious lectures about “the real meaning of Christmas.” I don’t love the emotional rip tides that seem to come with the season.
This year I didn’t go to any candlelight services or sing any carols. I didn’t put up a Christmas tree. I spent most of the time in a peaceful frame of mind. I did some of my own work and got together with the people I really wanted to get together with. I had a thoroughly non-traditional Christmas and it was glorious. Instead of feeling exhausted and traumatized, I feel refreshed and relaxed. I’m not a Christmas hater, but I certainly strayed far from the corporate orthodoxy and it paid off.
Christmas 2019 in Kentucky was a glorious day. It reached 50 degrees at 10:45 AM and the sun shown brilliantly. The world may be going to hell all around us, but for just this moment, in this space, it was a beautiful day.