Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The low point of the year

Some will claim Christmas is the high point of the year - a time to celebrate and a time to have fun. Good old Scrooge would say something like "Bah. Humbug!". Increasingly, it's correct to see Christmas as "Bah, Humbug".

A present for Uncle Jesse, a gift for Aunty Maud, gifts for parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters. But what of the little boy whose parents could not find room at the inn and had to give birth in a manger? Who remembers him?

All around us, Christmas jingles and festivities. Over drinking, over eating and partying. Rushing about the place exchanging presents. No gift for Bob because he didn't give us one last year. No card for Jeremy because his never arrived last year.

Christmas has ceased to be a celebration of the birth of an individual of great significance and has become a celebration of the worst excesses of Capitalism. Behold your new Savior - The Holy Banknote. Behold your new Prophet - the advertising agency at Some Corporation.

Instead of being thankful for what we have, we take out loans to buy ever more stuff then rent a storage unit to house it all. There's a reason why manufacturers bring out new models of things shortly before Christmas. It's to capture the suckers that believe Christmas is all about that new camera; all about buying the love or friendship of somebody with a new camera or other trinket.

The reality of Christmas is that many will spend Christmas envying the partying and gifts. Those who are unemployed or underemployed will be worrying about where their next meal is coming from. While others are eating turkey with all the trimmings, it's a can of cold lentil soup in a draughty unheated room in a run down house under threat of foreclosure for too many. For others, there will be war around them and the threat of violence will take away any joy or relaxation.

It's easy to look upon giving money to some charity as a way of assuaging one's guilt that one is enjoying oneself while the world around is in  poverty and misery. It's akin to buying penance. The point is Christmas is not about the garbage that the media and corporations peddle. It's about the celebration of change, of compassion, of charity and of helping one's fellow man not just to eat for a day but to achieve success in the same manner you did.

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