Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christ-mas?

Yes, I understand that the holiday is called Christmas. The first twelve years of my life were spent immersed in the "Christ" part. Midnight mass. Advent wreaths. "Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel. (In Latin. In chant.) Fasting three hours before Communion on Christmas morning, which meant no marshmallow Santas until after church. But also something greater. So large as to be beyond mortal reach.

Later, it was the born-again, "Jesus is the reason for the season" chant. Our brother, god, and savior taking on flesh to become like us. In order to save us from...ourselves. And, perhaps, each other.

So I have been there. And I have done that. And when it comes to the true meaning of Christmas, these days, my soul echoes a resounding…silence.

The rich, centuries-old traditions of this season must have a universal significance; of this I am convinced. But the earsplitting cacophony of forsaken, rapacious humankind drowns out the still, small voices that speak of the essence of the earthly experience, and its relationship to things of a higher plain. The spiritual has become incredibly distant. The pseudo-spiritual covers all like a thick layer of dark molasses. So I, like an ever-increasing number of erstwhile seekers, don’t even go there.

Christmas, now, means dusting off old memories, oohing and aaahing at the sparkle and glitter, questing after the taste, sound, or feeling that will make it all make sense. And, on December 26th, discovering that, once again, the nexus has remained inches beyond reach. Or miles. The old trails don’t quite go where the heart needs to go. And the new paths lead nowhere.

And so…here is a cat with antlers. He’s cute. He is mostly the meaning of Christmas for me these days. That is sad. Isn’t it?

7 comments:

JACKIE said...

That's why it's so weird to see Protestants of the fairly radical variety as the ones getting so worked up about this. Oh well just something else to get us all worked up over.

Jackie

clarity4today said...

It's only sad if *you're* sad about it, Lisa. I can't completely empathize, since I do find meaning in all of those things you mention from your past. Well, I've just participated in lighting of the Advent candles at my church, and we're to go Christmas caroling Wednesday. That's been the best thing about Christmas this year.

But where I find my meaning doesn't necessarily have to apply to you, too. Whatever makes you happy.
Donna

Cynthia said...

But the earsplitting cacophony of forsaken, rapacious humankind drowns out the still, small voices that speak of the essence of the earthly experience, and its relationship to things of a higher plain. The spiritual has become incredibly distant. The pseudo-spiritual covers all like a thick layer of dark molasses. So I, like an ever-increasing number of erstwhile seekers, don’t even go there.


That basically sums it up. We people get in the way of letting real Christmas happen. I think so much of the BS around Christmas is people trying to recreate something that feels like memory but never really happened. It's like we have this illusion as to what Christmas should be, rather than it was and is to us. In some sick way, I almost enjoy the bittersweet sadness of this. Enjoy your antlered cat and you beautiful trees. Take from Christmas what you can, and maybe, just maybe, it can become more.

amy said...

I've been contemplating this myself...I'm no longer religious in any organized sense, so the holiday for me now is about trying to give a little bit of happiness to others, especially those who might be struggling in their lives. Of course a lot of the focus for me is on my daughter; both in finding the perfect few gifts that will bring her the most fun, and also involving her in the giving process and the act of reflecting on those she loves and thinking of things they might enjoy.
Maybe for you this might be a time of being good to yourself, sharing your love with friends and family, and giving your furbabies and all of the wild creatures that surround you some special treats:)I'm planning on putting out some bread & birdseed wreaths and some walnuts on Christmas morning...not a strictly religious act, but maybe a spiritual one...
PS: I like antler cat ;)

kas said...

I'm feeling calmer this year than I have in previous years...not so frantic to get things done and I am enjoying it...

I think Christmas is what we make it...I hope yours is happy...

Gannet Girl said...

"And when it comes to the true meaning of Christmas, these days, my soul echoes a resounding…silence."

There is a great deal written in the Christian tradition about silence. Silence is so full, so much richer than the media and retail nonsense that passes for Christmas for much of our culture. You may have rejected Catholic ritual and born-again insistence, and it sounds like that feels like loss to you, but you are listening where you yourself need to listen.

ckays1967 said...

Lisa...

It may surprise you to know that I have lost my religion before too. Never my faith, but my religion. It happened when I left the Seventh Day Advendist church becuase I really didn't think any church had the right to tell me what I should think about when I was having sex with my husband.

Truly.

Faith is an individual thing my friend. Faith lives within our souls.


I shall wish you a Merry Christmas and mean it exactly like you think I do. With love...


xxooxxoo