I wrote this the 26th and accidentally saved it as a draft rather than publishing. I am less angsty now, but Mr T requested that I publish it for his reading pleasure. Enjoy! Happy St Thomas Becket day! Go read T. S. Eliot's excellent play about him, Murder In The Cathedral, if the following gets you down at all.
I kind of hate celebrating Christmas with non-Christians. That is, I love celebrating Religious Christmas (exhibit A); I hate that the secularists insist on having their Fake Christmas (exhibit B) overlap on the same day. Why? Just why? Can't we just be like Ontario, where there's a secular Family Day in February, where we'd all march over to whoever's turn it is to host the celebration, and eat and drink and argue, and have a good time, and leave us religious folks to just enjoy our feast days in peace and quiet? Why not just remove all the glittery snowmen and mistletoe and Hollywood ideas of A Perfect White Christmas (the calculus of which involves the Perfect Boring Meal, the Right Clothes, the correct Santa:Snowman:Candles ratio, the most Charming, Mild Conversation, and the Most Pristine Present-Wrapping) - as though this should all appear by magic, and be worth celebrating in and of themselves? Family Day would be so much simpler.
I love family. I love eating. I love pretty things. I love giving and getting presents. I love Mass. I love the Divine Office. I love contemplating the glorious mystery of the Incarnation. But you know, there's a time for everything under the sun. Why attempt to cram frenzied activity and serene prayer into one day?
Or maybe it would be totally different if we all as a family went to Mass, with genuine love, piety and humility, partook of the same Body, all wept together at the beauty of it all, and then returned to our quiet dwellings, lit our candles and translated the spiritual joy into an overflow of pleasant things in the natural order. Maybe if the Lord was authentically and truly our common reason for coming together on Christmas it wouldn't feel so creepy, unnatural, and despicable. Maybe it would be magical. But I'll likely never know.
I think this is making me so cranky because I don't have a solution. Do I have the courage to say next year, "We're just celebrating at home, because your godless nitwittery is ruining the joy we experience this day; we'll see you all at New Year's"? Probably not. But I suppose I need to then take responsibility for the annual awfulness. Nobody forces us to partake with non-Christians. We do so freely. And the pickle, the catch-22, is what's making me grumpy. I can put up with some silliness with family. But to contemplate this continuing year after year kind of kills me.
I hope you've enjoyed your dose of grouchiness. Happy St. Stephen's day!