Yes. Merry Christmas.
What’s the catch? Why bother?
The believers believe and the unbelievers don’t and the nihilists believe in nothing. The greeting is beyond belief.
By definition the word merry means to be cheerful. Christmas is a season recognized throughout the western world and wherever on this planet Erf evangelical missionaries affected the telling of the human story, human history. There are places still where its celebration is forbidden, others where it is compulsory. The influence of the saga of a baby boy conceived out of wedlock has been bastardized beyond compare and so it’s irrelevant to debate whether it’s true fact or myth. My opinion it’s some of both, but I’m not out to cancel Jesus on account of the myriad of mistakes committed by scores of followers in his name or to apologize for the deplorable atrocities. Maybe I don’t totally let Jesus off the hook of history but all told I don’t denounce Jesus. It doesn’t seem a stretch to associate his birthday as a season to practice cheer.
It comes around every year when the northern hemisphere tilts away from the face of the sun as far as it goes and nights are long and there’s reason to believe our ancestors perceived these conditions as signs that the sun could possibly go down the horizon and never come back. Even after solstice the minutes of daylight don’t increase right away, there’s leeway trade offs with sunrise and sunset times for a few days, but by December 25 there’s a minute gained back.
Meantime during the dark long nights we light up the landscape in every way we are able. This way we resist the dark. Against the dark we gather against the cold with loved ones. We gather around fire rings. Tiki lamps. Electric smudge pots. Candles. I don’t know how December plays out south of Erf’s equator with it being the longest days and the advent of astronomical summer, but I would venture most people might already be in cheerful moods. The northern people just seem to need extra incentive.
So why not Merry Christmas. It is what it is. A season celebrated at the end of the retreat of the sun. A time of year of the coldest weather is to come but the light guides us whether it is worth it to get up and leave the house.
To wish somebody to be cheered seems a nice gesture to offer one another as we cycle the calendar again. It’s already called Christmas. And if you are faithful to the heart and soul of words then there’s probably a place in your heart for American precepts of liberty and democracy inscribed in its Declaration of Independence and Constitution still valued in the modern world. It’s a salutation pointedly seasonal that is positive at a dark time.
Whether it’s never been darker I cannot say metaphorically but there’s probably never been more electric light. A scary worldwide pandemic threatens to annnihilate the human population while advanced scientific perseverance tries to get ahead of infectious curves. Climate change is a wild card. Sociopolitical extremes and all those memes stifle liberal and conservative dreams but not the dreamers. Truth turns out to be really out there after all, but some of it is unseen yet in the world of the seen. We are lucky to live in a culture that still strives to outperform its propaganda. I seem to recall Superman could squeeze a fistful of coal and exert enough pressure to compress the coal into a diamond.
Take heart, people.
Seasons greetings, if you will. May the force be with you. Happy holidays. Thinking of you and it just happens to be the final week of the year. Be cheered. I’m cheering for you.
B Michael Kelly