The Blue Meanies tried again to infiltrate my Christmas this year. Sometimes I think there are things I must have done to pull all this vicious wickedness in on myself on what had always been my most favorite time of year. I know I've been crappy to people now and again, and I've tried very hard to forgive people who have done things to me or against me and just move on. That must be the reason that, once every few Christmases, the great karmatic God in the sky feels a need to make a point with me. Whether I've failed as a father or a husband or just as a friend - I don't know. But there seems to be something out there I have to pay for. I'm not going to get into specifics, but it couldn't get much closer to the heart of things I feel are close and precious, when it happens.
MrsRW and I were thinking maybe the whole thing is getting to be too much for people. There's always a lot of stress, a lot of silliness, a lot of feelings on the surface or something. People say cruel things, impose draconian conditions, and sudden;y seem to be different people than they were just a month ago. We usually enter into the spirit of the holiday and are happy to put up lights, the tree, secretly run around looking for gifts, hiding the stuff we're going to put in each other's stockings when the other isn't looking. I can't remember a moment when we wished anyone ill for the holiday. I doubt we ever really did, unless it was like Pol Pot or someone like that.
And this whole thing wasn't helped by massive overtime and a wretched head cold that just doesn't want to go away.
For the first time ever we sat there wondering if maybe we should forgo all the usual family gatherings next year and find a soup kitchen to work at, or a place where less fortunate kids get donated presents handed out to them, or bring fruit baskets to firemen or well... something. Something that isn't part of the great, stressful, mindless orgy of overdone abundance and people playing bumper cars with emotions and jockeying for some kind of munificent attention. Duels for control. Plots for position.
The whole "Christian metaphor" is forgiveness and the granting of another chance. It's what we would want others to grant us, and we are charged with forgiving as we'd like to be forgiven. That's kind of like, you know, the chief prayer and all? Truly there aren't many "Christians" who seem to understand the basic message of their own faith, myself included time after time. The holiday of Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of the guy who gave people that example. And, at least, you're supposed to TRY.
MrsRW's natural father left her mother before she was born. Then she spent a good portion of her early years living with her grandmother because her mother and stepfather had temporary work in another state and they wanted her to go to school here. I've read some of her letters to her Mom from those days, when she was just a little girl telling her distant mother all the news. So I get very upset - and very protective - of her when somebody treats her shabby. Especially when the source of the shabby ought to know better, and be using another approach, considering. I start making lists and rules of my own. In response to someone treating my wife poorly, I become thoroughly un-Christian... as it were.
So we figured it's a stressful time for some people. Some people can't handle all their own internal conflicts and project them onto others, no matter how hurtful, draconian, and pointless it all is. And the holidays just seem to exacerbate the problem.
But in our hearts I know we are still pro-Christmas people. So maybe next year we go do stuff for others and let the instability devour itself without us around. Maybe aim at somebody else for once. Because I'm going to forget I belong to a pacifist church in a minute here.
Because though I will sometimes sit around and say how much I hate, hate, HATE Christmas and what it does to people, I can never really give up on it.