Thursday, November 12, 2015

Can We Talk About the Christmas Creep, Y'all?

I am immensely humbled and gratified by the amount of attention Monday's post on the Starbucks holiday cups got--it ended up being one of my most shared posts since "coming out" (as it were) about being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse in a post earlier this year in the wake of the Josh Duggar revelations.

I mention that post--the one recounting my instance of sexual abuse--because we suffer greatly from an immensely polarized manufacturing of reality today.  We can so very easily cordon ourselves and our minds off to our own little corner where all we see, all we consume of reality is Fox News, or MSNBC, or the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, or Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

For folks who have been wounded by the church--and I say this not to cast stones (in fact, I'd probably act very similarly myself if I were in their shoes)--it is very easy for them to create a reality that the church intrudes into as rarely as possible, except for when a Christian makes the news for doing something terrible (Duggar) or saying something terrible (think Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" drivel during the 2012 election cycle).

The howls of persecution over the Starbucks holiday cups fell into that latter camp on face, but in context could arguably have fallen into the former camp--not simply saying something terrible, but doing something terrible by demanding that we care more about a disposable paper cup than, say, what is currently happening on the University of Missouri campus right now, or Veteran's Day and the reality of the struggles that vets often face in terms of mental health care, homelessness, substance abuse, and on and on.

And these howls of persecution were taking place, let's remember, over a cup to celebrate the winter holidays, and ostensibly Christmas in particular--a day that is still over *six* weeks away.

Think about that for a second.  That's six refills of those S-M-T-W-T-F-S pill boxes you use to sort your meds out week-to-week.  That's six Monday Night Football Broadcasts.  That's six sermons, six Sunday School lessons, six Children's Church classes.

That's an awful lot of time.

I hate (okay, not hate--I try not to use the word 'hate.'  I ultra-despise, there), I ultra-despise having to pull the "when I was a kid" card because I am still not yet thirty, but when I was a kid, the "Christmas creep" stopped, full stop, at Thanksgiving.  And even that was a lot--waking up on December 26, one still got the "Whew, Christmas is finally over" sentiment in full measure.

But now that we've bumped up the start of "Christmas season" by 3+ weeks, we've gone from running a marathon of egg nog, peppermint, and awful covers of "Santa Baby" to running an ultramarathon of all those holiday trappings.  And the exhaustion we feel at the end of the race is likewise amplified, much to the detriment of our spiritual and emotional selves.  It becomes a relief to pack up all of the Christmas decorations for another year, it becomes a resentment to have to polish off the last of the Christmas leftovers.

We become tired and sick of something after purporting to celebrate it for 7-8 weeks.  Can we admit to ourselves that isn't really healthy?

Can we admit that we are eclipsing our need to disguise our consumerism with red and green holiday colors to the point that we're gorging ourselves?

Despite my grinchy reputation this time of year, I'm genuinely not trying to be a grinch.  I'm trying to encourage us to pace ourselves, to not jump the gun so early, to run the race without a series of false starts.

Think about your own birthday--not Jesus's, your own.  It's often possible to still have the joy of that day filter into the next one and propel you forward with some leftover afterburners of energy--at least, it does for me (or has done--ask me again after this one since I'm turning another decade older).

But we are no longer capable of reaching for that energy after Christmas because the energy it generated was already burned out days or weeks prior.

So let's actually leave some room for Thanksgiving, and for god's sake, Veterans Day.  Halloween?  Eh, it's not like I need more candy in my life, I'm agnostic on that one.

But let's get back to celebrating one holiday at a time, yeah?  And hopefully, the joy we are supposed to feel this time of year will be far easier to generate on a fuller soul.

Longview, Washington
November 12, 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment