Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

The Mountain Goats, apparently, would like to wish you a Merry Christmas.

So does Shokai.  But like John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats) at the 2:35 mark of his song, I find it so hard to do without a touch of cynicism. The source of that cynicism I find hard to identify - I've not experienced any Christmas tragedies (far from it) and don't have any suppressed Christmas traumas (of which I'm aware), but I find it hard not to at least raise an eyebrow when saying "Merry Christmas."

Maybe I resent having to be so goddamn cheerful and full of good will that day.  Hey, I like cheer as much as the next man, and I'm nothing if not all about good will toward men (and the ladies, too).  But maybe I just don't want to have to be in a jolly mood on that particular day, and I resent having to lie to friends, colleagues, and co-workers (as if. . . ) about what a wonderful time I had on Christmas day.  For the record, New Year's Eve is almost as bad, but at least New Year's doesn't have the sanctimony. 

I spent most of my Christmas Eve continuing to work on the three reports I have to produce by the end of the year.  I'm close to wrapping them up and very likely could by tomorrow, and it will make me happy to complete them, but for some reason the fact that I'll be working on Christmas Day seems to disappoint some people.  Ironically, many of those same people don't seem disappointed that their waitstaff and cashiers are working in the restaurants and businesses they visit during the holiday.  But there goes my cynicism again.

But I can also take the higher road.  Christmas is our culture's celebration of charity, of good intentions, of kind words, and of love.  Whatever your feelings about Christianity, there has still got to be something in the holiday for you, regardless of your beliefs - or lack thereof.

Even athiests should agree that peace of earth isn't exactly a bad thing.

"If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate . . . the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world, at peace," Franklin D. Roosevelt, a great American, once said.

So, even though the eyebrow's reflexively raised, in the spirit of FDR, I wish you all a happy Christmas, and peace on earth and good will towards all.

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