It has come to my attention that perhaps you had it right all along, that is, before your impressive conversions. Perhaps this joy we have manufactured for the Christmas holiday is just that – manufactured, like some piece of plastic that Airbrush Barbie will scoot around town in, like some small, flat rectangular thing, embossed with our name, that will drive up our debt load.
You see, I’m not feeling it all that much this year, and as I recall Mr. Grinch’s stealing of Christmas paraphernalia, I’m sensing a comrade. As I picture Mr. Scrooge’s cold, dark mansion void of any glitter, tinsel, or bulb, a twinge of envy grows within me.
I believe we have confused things. As I stood in line at the Dollar Tree, buying large gift bags to hold my purchases for the church’s Angel Tree, and as I heard the melodic voice of Gene Autry encourage us to “give thanks to the lord above, ’cause Santa Claus comes tonight”, I realized that I was done.
Which is to say, I am done with Santapalooza as a stand-in for Christmas.
On the one hand, Santapalooza is an opportunity to give something to someone as a token of appreciation or even love. But on the other hand, those tokens become expressions of obligation and duty. Santapalooza props up the disparities rampant in our capitalism-on-steroids. We give charitably, thinking that a day’s moment of generosity makes up for systems of injustice that perpetuate racism and poverty.
Who’s the mean one now, Mr. Grinch? Bah. Humbug.
Christmas, though…. I’ll keep that, if we can strip away the wrapping paper and the stockings and wire-edged bows and all the sugar; if we can do away with presents that have no meaning; if we can spend just one day in celebration, or if that is too scant, spend twelve days that begin on the 25th and end, as they once did, on Epiphany, the season of light. I’ll take the Christ Mass, the acknowledgement of the mystery of the Incarnation, the awe of light and love. I’ll take the Word, full of grace and truth. I’ll even take Baby Jesus, lying in the middle of the animal’s part of the home, carefully laid in a feeding trough, worried over by his father and mother, who soon will flee for their lives as refugees in Egpyt.
Mr. Grinch, I believe my own heart could grown three sizes too big if we could just separate these conjoined twins of Santapalooza and Christmas. Mr. Scrooge, were that to happen, I would echo those true words of Tiny Tim, and with all my heart, ask God to bless us, every one.
But I will say in hope, and in confidence that all things are possible through Him who loves us, please God, bless us –
all those people standing in line at the Dollar Tree;
all those parents worrying that there won’t be enough for their kids under the tree;
all those people relying on the charity of others to get through the holiday;
all those people who don’t understand;
all those people who have lost their faith;
all the grieving, all the hopeless, all the sick, all the homeless;
all the rich, all the poor, all the waiting, all the wondering:
God bless us, every one.