Funerals are terrible, and not just because of the obvious reasons. Funerals are fraught with platitudes and half-hearted societally-required modicums of expressions of grief and sympathy. To endure the loss that precedes a funerary is painful enough, but I think it doubly punitive to force the bereaved to endure trite and saccharine wishes that come with the aforementioned societally-specified sympathies.
For this reason, I immediately associate Christmas with funerals.
As I see it, generally, both are very profound, sometimes sacred, moments corrupted by illusory well-wishes on all sides. Yes, I said it. Christmas is like my own personal funeral hell.
Every year as Thanksgiving approaches, I begin to tense – expectant of the coming storm of tinsel, lights, shopping frenzy and mendacious phatic communications. Every year, as my disdain of the Season and all its greetings become more verbal, I am inundated with well-meaning tutelaries of all things Yuletide proffering multitudes of reasons to welcome and indulge in the holidays’ merriments. Which, of course is the exact reason I bloody hate Christmas so much in the first place. All the self-appointed elves doing their best to de-Scrooge those of us who’re perfectly happy sharing Christmas Eve with a dead Marley rather than indulging in another invitation to make merry are entirely too much for my patience to endure.
Over the years, I’ve struggled to offer effective argumentum in hopes that a discouragement could be made to aforementioned elves. Well, it hasn’t worked. For all my exposition of pagan roots, and diatribes against commercialist greed and unholy observations, as well as my assertions of general dislike of all things glitter, I still suffer through endless trolls that deem it their personal mission to change me from the epitome of pre-visitation Dickens’ Scrooge to the post.
I’ve spent many a holiday season dissuading interrogators from their belief that something traumatic or terrible most certainly must have happened to me or a loved one at Christmas. Why else could I possibly hate this, the most wonderful time of the year, if not for some sort of PTSD-related causation? It is my regret to inform all the amateur psychiatrists in company, but I had grand Christmases as a child.
Nothing but joy, hope, peace, and all the other ornamental phrases of the holiday.
There’s been the paraenesis of many a friend and relative consisting of the exhortation to simply “be nice,” suggesting that my formidable dread and loathing of the holiday will somehow magically go away as a result – as if “niceness” is the Christmas version of Harry Potter’s Expecto Patronum.
Sorry to burst your Yuletide Hogwarts bubble, Christmas wizards, but that solution is a no-go.
There’s also the incessant flapping of the warning banner flown by nearly every American Evangelical (no offense intended to my evangelical loves – I speak in generalities here) incensed by the war on Christmas that suggests that if I don’t love Christmas, then I don’t love Jeeeesus. Again, please pound the pulpit elsewhere. I’m fully invested in the hope of advent, and the light of the advent candles. The twinkling lights of the Christmas festivals, however, isn’t my thing. This in no way heralds the impending descent of my soul into the bowels of Dante’s hell as I am fairly certain that there’s no Biblical canon that demands loyalty to the god known as Tannenbaum. (The invitation for any of my clergy friends to correct me on this particular assertion is perpetually open.)
Here’s the gist of the entire mess: In addition to the many reasons I’ve provided in the past; I primarily hate Christmas because it’s silly, and pointless, and littered with the sludge of meretricious semiotics. Basically, I hate Christmas because I just bloody well hate it, okay?
So, for the sake of the goodwill, and peace on earth that is peddled by the purveyors of Christmas virtues, please, allow me to observe the Advent in quiet solitude. Allow me space to prepare my home and heart for the arrival of the Christ. Let me enjoy quiet contemplation of the virtues of St. Nicholas, the bishop, and what that means for my own Christian faith.
In turn, I will do you the kind favor of avoiding you so that you may enjoy your tinseled tree-lightings and candy cane cocoa. I’ll peacefully retreat so that your gift-wrapped tidings of comfort and joy may be exchanged, unhampered by my yuletide disdain.
Say a prayer for my soul at the altar of holiday cheer, if you must, but, for the love of Baby Jesus in the Manger, please, do not try and un-Scrooge me, or the Christmas goose I flagrantly and generously provide, will likely not be of the eating kind.