Vanishing horizons

FTLComm - Tisdale - Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It is unlikely that I alone suffer considerably from the wail of the Christmas Season, which begins in earnest with the American celebration of Thanksgiving.

In the few years I was a classroom teacher, I remember well the importance of getting our part in the annual Christmas concert underway, often in early November, but the real feeling of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child was always left until a few days before Christmas.

Retail marketing has reached the point where businesses measure the success or failure of their whole year of sales on the sales during the "Christmas rush".

Last Saturday (December 2) I was walking with my son through the Bay in the Polo Park Mall and as we passed a Bay sales clerk we could not help over hearing her bemoaning her life to someone on her cell phone. Her lament was of some dire problem she could not attend to because she is so busy and "its Christmas". December 2 and this woman considers that to be Christmas. Has Christmas become a burden rather than a time of joy and reflection?

My wife and I have this discussion a lot as she had noticed the change in attitude, not just of the world at large, but within our family, as we have come to change what should be a wondrous time of the year, into a time of tension and often irresponsible spending. The joy of Christmas has been replaced with the Christmas Rush and the time of Peace on Earth good will to men is now a commercial rat race, keep up to the shop till you drop mentality of the big box marketplace.

As the pressure to be "ready for Christmas" increases, I have found myself, each year, delaying my preparations until the very last minute, exaggerating the delay of doing the Christmas shopping and putting up the Christmas tree. This year, we will put the tree up Christmas Eve and it will be glorious and we will embrace the spirit of Christmas as we have in the past, but the pressure to go, go, go and buy, buy buy, is increasing in so many ways and truly is endangering both our family celebration and the culture in which we live.

In Europe this year there is a strong resistance movement to shun the American "Santa Claus" culture that, though it had its roots in the traditions of Northern Europe, was a real invention of Coca Cola and the empty culturaless world of America.

My memory is good enough to recall the way Santa Claus became almost a religion in my own time and I remember the snickers of my friends when I naively asked if there really was a Santa Claus, it was not that I was questioning my own belief in the religion of Santa Claus, but I wondered out loud if there was some tangible basis for the legend. My query made me the laughing stock of my former friends.

The problem for us all is the limitation of our line of sight. The edge of vision at the curvature of the earth is about thirty-five miles and somehow we have to push ourselves way beyond that linear measurement. What does it do to us as a society to fabricate meaningless celebration at the end of each year, exhaust the credit limits on our plastic and in general, pretend we have some idea about what the heck is going on. My suspicion is that there are a steadily growing number of people who are turning away from tradition, both religious and secular, they are either going all out into the commercialism, or giving up entirely on the Christmas ho cum.

For my wife and I this yea,r we have decided to scale down the giving and getting of presents considerably. We feel that the process is just trivialising what we know to be our way of dealing with this time of the year. We want to share the time with our children and for the first time, with their children and the most valuable gift we have, and they have to give, is themselves. Our time with one another is the precious commodity and we intend to make the very best of that to celebrate our Christmas this year.



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
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