It’s the most hateful time of the year.
With commercialism flowing
And family wars still agoing.
Few are of good cheer.
It’s the most miserable time of the year
Grim, isn’t it? For many people it is sadly accurate. This can be seen as a very negative post. But, it points out how Christmas often isn’t a happy time for people.
Many people are kicked out of their families for a variety of reasons. I see this often with families of individuals who are LGBT. Their “lifestyle choice” is viewed as unacceptable. At times, it’s religion. People join a church or practice a spirituality that isn’t “correct.” They may have left a church or they are atheists Those on the “right path” disown the family members who aren’t who they are “supposed” to be. Those who are “unsaved” or “sinners.” There are other reasons why someone can not be welcome among family. Or the families that are so dysfunctional that it’s nothing but fights or inebriation or both.
Then there are other situations that might result in people being separated. For example, there’s been a divorce. Usually the parents take turns having the kids for Christmas. Perhaps the parents have another partner. But there is still the possibility of being alone. The death of family, friends, or for the military members- fellow service members. There is grief and the knowledge that you will not see this person again in this lifetime. There’s a huge hole. The holiday seems empty. There might be significant injury or illnesses where the holidays are spent in a hospital; either as a patient or waiting.
There are careers that separate families. We all know about military members being deployed. They’re also in an area of danger. This adds anxiety to the mix. Other service members may not be able to get home, even if they are not deployed. I spent a Christmas alone in the barracks one year. The special meals are a good try but they don’t fill a hole. Other jobs also spread families over distances.
Let’s talk plain old commercialism. The commercialism starts before Halloween. This year I looked for Veterans Day decorations in late October/ early November. There were none. But, there were tons of Christmas stuff. Starting before Halloween. I bought Thanksgiving things. The week before Thanksgiving everything was gone. And the Christmas section expanded. Let’s not even start on Black Friday. It’s now more about spending money to buy decorations or gifts. Often, there’s a “gift war” to come up with the best gifts for family members. Sometimes people really can’t afford to buy gifts. All of this adds to a false build up of expectations that will never be fully met.
It’s also he time for the yearly “War on Christmas” to start. (Come on: Starbucks coffee cups upset them??) Christians are upset in part due to the secularism of Christmas as well as sharing with other religions. It “belongs” to Christianity. However, other religions also have holidays in December. On the shortest night of the year Winter Solstice ( Yule) is celebrated by most Wiccans and some of the other pagan religions. Judaism celebrated Hanukah. Kawanzaa is celebrated. Other holidays are observed. And the atheists might celebrate the holidays in their own way. Not all Christians are like this, of course. Sadly, we are bombarded by the “War on Christmas” by media. This stirs up contention. Nothing like a good fight to celebrate a time of peace and understanding. I have to admit that I was drawn into this battle this year.
The real war shouldn’t be about Christians who “owns” Christmas or having to say “Merry Christmas” rather than Happy Holidays. Perhaps for Christians and non-Christians alike the battle should be over poverty, suffering, ending homelessness, feeding the hungry. You know. Acts of peace and charity to recognize the meaning, them being religious or otherwise. I don’t care how you celebrate the holiday but don’t claim it for your religion whatever it is. Let’s just share.
With all the stressors of shopping, cooking, family visiting, and those other problems mentioned above, no wonder this can be a miserable time for many people. Keep it simple and uncomplicated. If you can’t be with family for whatever reason, celebrate with friends or chosen family.
Can anyone really say there was no let down during this time? No feeling of just missing something? A bit of emptiness?
I wish everyone a happy holiday season. May it be better than what I mentioned. Be well. Find way to enjoy, even is it’s something small.