Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas From a Distance

Now you know where to find me.

Each year as Christmas nears the same feeling comes to visit. This time more than ever. Something good, an undefinable spirit among men, is vanishing. The season’s Christian holiday no longer serves us best as a moment to rejoice, but barometer of our collective character, a literal and proverbial calendar on its last page.

Almost certainly some of these feelings come from being born into my generation; one of many fed fantasies and unfounded ideas by generations of parents who did so unknowingly, without introspection, and no concern for what they’d incur. Even serial realists such as myself find it hard to release our grip on the unrealistic notions of Christmas. Programmed from day one, by mothers and fathers living their own fantasies, they are etched upon our hearts.

My observations, however, are not meant to infer Christmas is a lie, or the religion of its creation bad. They are written to state what I feel to be the obvious - that a holiday once well rooted in religious faith has been co-opted away from its true meaning, into the Switzerland of days off; neutral territory defined by excess consumption. The biblical story of an unskilled red-nosed reindeer once guided our thoughts to peace, love, and joy. Shooting approaches to minimums so that all the little angels would get the Easy Bake Ovens and Evel Knievel motorcycles mail ordered from Sears taught us selfless servitude. Today, the tale of kerosene beasts, with microwave noses, fill the heads of children. Flying autolands in the snow so all the little angels who lack for nothing can complain about capitalism while enjoying senseless game consoles their parents purchased only eight hours earlier from Amazon has taught us what?

Many argue times have changed. Can you see it? No?

Our biggest holiday has become a grand hyperloop of marketing and consumerism no longer possessing the deeper meaning and purpose of Christmas - a foundation that would give it everlasting strength. Instead, it is so lost to time few remember when it wasn’t. I certainly don’t. But I do remember how it used to feel, or how I think it should.

A Denver landing captured by my GoPro.

Back then, for reasons unexplained, upon first observation everyone was treated to a smile. Each person encountered also shared kind words. Every day delivered the peace of a population wide truce. For at least three remarkably peaceful hours, depending on when your family opened gifts and ate the big meal, we all assumed everyone was good, had the potential to be, or would be better off punched on a different day.

Sitting here today I don’t feel it. Days away from the 25th and 12,000 miles from home, I can tell you it doesn’t seem like Christmas. There are no gifts, no glowing red noses, and the only guiding star to be found is actually two planets that have nothing to do with Christmas (sorry to burst your bubble). However, I do find myself continuously thinking of the people from my life, the principles life crudely engraved on my heart of stone, and all the great memories I have been given, or opportunity to create, by the miracle of life. Among them is a sunset flight over the Keys on Christmas day, the notion of telling the truth ‘till it hurts, and the hundreds of people I’d love to see again.

Were the names of those people printed, many would undoubtedly be surprised to find themselves on the list. Having last walked away enemies, or unfortunate casualties of life, they have surely long since forgotten me. Yet, for all of them I find myself hoping they have lived great lives, corrected the errors of their ways, and forgiven me for mine. But, that is all part of the fantasy - I guess. Or, maybe not.

Could it be the final embers of Christmas keeping out the cold?

If you need me, I'll be outside chopping wood.

*Written on a long layover in Japan - December 23rd, 2020.

1 comment:

G&K said...

The spirit of Christmas still lives in the halls of hospitals and the long lines of food banks with the giving of love and support still thrives. Merry Christmas Rich and Ginger.