14th December 2018
To an already fatigued population this year, Christmas might seem like just another demand. When some of my friends grumble about the whole Christmas season, I empathise to a degree. But I have to remind myself and them, that in this crazy world of self-importance and serial abuse of one kind or another, isn't it fitting just to take a day out and think of others? Even if your relative sends you another pair of socks or another necklace you would never wear, some substantial part of the planet for a brief moment every year turns its gaze outward and thinks of someone else.
Christmas, for me, and for many others, is not a sentimental story of how a baby Christ came in a manger to save a sinful "Wretch like me." It is, as Scrooge learned during his night visits from Christmas ghosts, a liberating truce in the mind-warping, grabbing and self-serving that has become our world.
It allows us, however fleetingly, a sense of magic. Children get this, because children are more in touch with where they came from - their hearts are naturally open (at least until we, often unwittingly, close them.) We would be much better humans, our planet would be much better off, if, instead of scoffing, we rekindled the natural wonder we had as children.
Let Christmas alone, I say. There is much that is very good in it. Yuletide was, of course, before it had anything to do with Christianity, a celebration of the Winter Solstice, when the dark night of winter started to turn back towards the light. If we weren't coddled in our central heating, and kept awake at all hours by electric light, we would appreciate that much more. This planet still has a lot of turning towards the light to do. We are living through a very dark period in human history. So, let's put up our Christmas trees in wonder, with our eyes wide open for that pale thin ray of hope on the horizon.