12.22.2005

more on Christmas

(i posted this originally as a comment on my recent post, Overrated Things - The Holiday Edition, which apparently, i'm glad to say, struck a nerve. anyway, i liked how it came out well enough that i think it deserves a post of its own)

here's the thing: God wants us to value some things, yes. things He created/did, especially; i'd call those things religious observances. once, we had Christmas, one such religious observance. now, we have christmas/xmas, a largely secular humanist, capitalist observance that almost completely overshadows in the eyes and minds and hearts of the general public what once was (and yes, i even mean those who think the true meaning of christmas is a largely humanist observance, a watered down warm-fuzzy feeling festival that's all about being nice and having a good time with relatives - Christmas is about more than that).

so what is Christmas/christmas/xmas, exactly? is it religious or secular? my idea here is that, as perception is reality*, Christmas/christmas/xmas is comprised of many realities, the majority of which, at least in this country, are not aligned with my own. it seems to me, then, safe to say that yes, josh, christmas/xmas is wildly overrated. Christmas, however, is still one of the most beautiful of religious observances.

my frustration, then, lies mainly with the the obscene proliferation of secular barnacles attached to what is otherwise a beautiful time of year. i dislike performing activities (wrapping gifts, writing christmas cards) that remind me that the birth of my Lord is now forced to carry upon its back, as an event, too-heavy secular baggage. i give gifts to people who are special to me, not so i can buy cute new wrapping paper or use up the old; i commune with those who are close to me, not so i can say "merry christmas," but so i can enjoy fellowship (as my college roommate would say). my problem lies in the fact that, because i don't enjoy wrapping gifts or writing cards for the sake of the activities (some people do, and that's wonderful - but some people also like buffalo wings, also fine, but they're not something you'll catch me eating anytime soon), i cannot enjoy them, for my idea that they detract (again, for me) from what i perceive (and what becomes my reality) to be the true joys of Christmastime.

so please, all who enjoy the usual activities: wrap and enjoy, write/receive cards and enjoy - i, too, will be engaged in the same activities. rest assured, though, i will not easily be swayed from my opinion that Christmas is a simple observance, or should be. and though it will not likely be celebrated simply in my lifetime (again, yay america), there is very little about what has become christmas that is important to me for its own sake (let's be honest, i have a wife and i'm going to have children. just because something isn't ideologically important to me doesn't mean it can't be fun being with people who are enraptured by the activities, and myself become enraptured. these are not ideals i will die for, and though they are, in my mind, logically sound, in practice they become little more than curmudgeonly).

(*disclaimer: while i assert here that perception=reality, i would like to point out an amendment to that assertion: there are two co-existing realities for every perceiver: 1) God's Reality - all of existence, as He perceives all things, and of which the perceiver is a part, and 2) the perceiver's reality - all of that with which the perceiver comes in direct of indirect contact: a finite portion of Reality. while all the universe does indeed exist continually as God's perceived Reality, my portioned existence only allows me to perceive a fraction of that Reality, which becomes my functional reality.

all that to say, i am not supporting any form of relativism. each individual perceiver's functional reality is very different from every other perceiver's functional reality, but each such reality is a part of a whole Reality, and never deviates from the whole.)

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