time and place

Monday 2012.12.24

As I sit here now, Christmas eve is tomorrow. With Christmastime also comes the approach of the end of the year and the beginning of the new year. It’s a natural time for reflection.

Any who read my ramblings in this space of the web have already seen me churning out verbiage about the changes happening to the Earth and the strangeness in weather it brings. In a place on Earth where Christmastime normally brings a bit of snow, we still have had none, and all of last winter of 2011-2012 brought exactly one brief snowfall of maybe two or three inches, which went away soon after.

I had started a long essay that went on at some length, about perspective, Christmastime, and the present. That’s gone. We don’t need quite all that. It’s not that there is nothing to be said.

Christmas and the following turn into the new year is a good time, a great time, for refresh and reset. It isn’t always that, for everybody, and of course, around this time there are always many people who have circumstances that just are not very enjoyable and festive. There are more of us in not the best festive circumstances and settings here in 2012 America, and around the world, and it sounds like a cliché to some people, but let’s remember this.

This year has been another of trying circumstances and difficulty for a lot of people, and we’re in a period of such times. This is where some things run into problems in terms of people and their relation to the holidays. In short, too many people have lost themselves in a foggy forest of ideas of a holiday of festivals of consumption of stuff. There are many ways many people just lose the plot of this time of the year. In an era when people have accepted being referred to as “consumers”, rather than people, and describing their fellow humans as consumers, a lot gets lost and distorted.

I don’t want to go on at length about all that. Just take some time to reflect, recognize that kind of thing, and banish it, as best you can. For too many people, Christmas has become a period of seeing it all as some ill combination of some sort of burdens and obligations and chores and scheduling and deadlines and appointments, or, on the other side of it, a time of expectations of being the time when all your wishes and desires come true and you get piles of all the stuff you want.

It’s not that.

It’s not centered around “The Mall”, whatever particular version of that kind of architectural and functional strangeness happens to possibly be the center of the Christmas Consumption in your area. I hope that perhaps you are among the people in America where such monolithic blocks surrounded by acres of asphalt are not the central focus of activity.

I’ve found myself using this space to regularly turn my attention to commentary on large scale subjects of problematic nature, and I don’t want to fill up today’s note with this kind of thing for your Christmas season. The kind of things we are actually dealing with don’t just go away, however.

Part of the larger scene involves notions of consumption and wealth, and how far off in the weeds so many have gone. So, for Christmas, it’s relevant. Don’t get entangled in the mad dash of consuming stuff, whether it’s expecting to get some shiny pile of “stuff I want”, or it’s being caught up in blowing loads of money you can’t afford and maybe don’t even have (i.e., the credit card), on some grim-faced mission to acquire stuff to fulfill what you see as Christmas shopping consumer obligations.

Add into the mix various kinds of dysfunctional family problems and psychic disease, and it can really be an awful distortion of the season. So don’t be like those people. I really do not wish to make this note a whole long social commentary on how people get it wrong, but there is another element. Seeing the part of the Christmas holiday tradition of European based cultures where the birth of Jesus is celebrated (even though it apparently is nowhere near his actual birthday), many people calling themselves Christians are just amazing at losing the plot of it. It’s really awful to see people coughing out bumper-sticker platitudes like “Jesus- The Reason for The Season” like some cheesy vulgar ad campaign slogan, or chattering about some imagined “War on Christmas”.

Wash all that away.

Be good to each other. Take time to sit back, reflect, and see and appreciate all that’s good in your life. These things are not empty platitudes, they really are important, there is meaning to this. Herein lies the broad theme of my little note today; for a great many people, steadily increasing in numbers, life right now might not seem so grand and great and pleasant. For many people, it actually isn’t so bad, isn’t bad at all, really, but a kind of childish spoiled petuance drives them to think that many things are just ever so disappointing.

Don’t be that.

Christmas time now can unfortunately be a time when people’s expectations and variations of detachment from reality can warp things to extremes, and I don’t wish to spoil the time right now by reviewing all the ways this plays out, especially with very recent events in the news providing flashes of extreme madness, that are then extended into reverberating public noise bringing, to use a bit from Shakespeare again, much sound and fury, signifying nothing, or at least nothing that helps understanding and correction of anything.

Help yourself and the people around you. Wipe away the madness that pops up and try to bring a little light and love and goodwill and sanity into the situation around you. That’s Christmas.

 

 


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