Beyond the materialism of Christmas
THE EDITOR, Sir:
What are the true positives of Christmas despite its power to hold the world in this seasonal hysteria? "Let's eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die"?
It forces out of men good sense and judgement and turns the flood of base pleasure up to such a level that pleasure distorts its own value. Generosity and altruism appear a mechanical replay and so ring fake and hollow the very spirit and best qualities of man.
The good is not in the gift, but the giver, who is the true gift. It is ironic that everything that Jesus stood for and led could become so twisted and corrupted to detract from a course that attracted the world. Therefore, it seems a good idea that Jesus' birth is a mystery - to insulate him from an occasion that would appear to tarnish his name if he desired his birth date to be celebrated.
The fact is, Christmas is much like a seesaw - one man's spit rises at the expense of the man's at the opposing end plummeting. It's an occasion for enlarging your fortunes of good or ill. No middle ground, no room for balance.
But soberness is a nuisance in full seasons of spirit - like a party-crasher, like the cops entering at midnight to say, "Party's over! Your neighbour is in want." It's like someone coming to say Jesus came because his loves humans - people.
New York, USA