Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts

25 Dec 2016

Cold Turkey and TV (How We're Betrayed by Tradition)

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Boy
(looking as bored then as I feel today)

There are many traditions associated with Christmas; singing carols, decorating a tree, hanging up a stocking, kissing under the mistletoe, exchanging presents, etc.

But, for many people, the big day itself is ultimately reduced to a plate of cold turkey leftovers and zoning out in front of the TV: sic semper erat, et sic semper erit. Is it any wonder that suicide rates spike at this time of year?

The fact is, whether we like to admit it or not, traditions can be fatal: the mindlessly repetitive transmission of customs that no one really cares about and beliefs that no one considers truthful, from one generation to the next, is at last soul-destroying.

Far from sustaining a people within a living faith or culture, tradition becomes a substitute for such; an empty form, devoid of significance, whose meaning has long been forgotten. Nietzsche warned of the way that history can, at a certain point, become disadvantageous; the past starts to enforce its claims on the present regardless of the cost, preventing the birth of new thoughts and feelings and any future unfolding.

Etymologically, the word tradition warns us of the threat that it contains; for tradere means not only that which is delivered as a gift across time, but also that which betrays. We are exposed to danger by our own inheritance, as soon as we allow it to automatically determine who we are and how we live.

This is why we must challenge convention and all forms of doxa; why we must not simply show unquestioning love and loyalty to the past; why we must let the dead bury the dead (so that they don't bury us beneath the accumulated filth of ages).

And this is why, if you really want to have a merry Christmas, it takes more than pulling a cracker and wearing a paper hat round the dinner table ... 

25 Dec 2013

And so this is Christmas ...

Feigning joy and surprise at the gifts we despise 
over mulled wine with you

If there has ever been a better opening line to a Christmas song than this sung by Justin Hawkins of The Darkness, then I'd like to hear it.  

For there is something despicable at the commercial heart of Xmas and something increasingly desperate about our compulsion to celebrate it and insist that everyone enters into the spirit of the season lest they be branded a killjoy. Or a Scrooge. Or in someway suspect (not one of us).

Well, I'm sorry, but like Charlie Brown this time of year always makes me depressed: and a little ashamed. I don't want the bells to end; but I'd like for the tills to stop ringing and for people to not be bullied. And not be afraid.

25 Dec 2012

Ants and the Spirit of Christmas

Teeny-tiny little red spider-ants have taken up residence in my electric kettle: which is kind of annoying and a little inconvenient. I should probably kill them. 

But it's Christmas day and I don't have the heart to do it. Peace and goodwill to all mankind - but why not extend this to insects and arachnids? 

It's not that I think Christ the Saviour was born to redeem them of their sins too, but because it seems to me that this is just as much their world as it is mine.

Nevertheless, tomorrow, when I wake up and want a cup of tea, then I know that I'll reach for the poison spray, or squash them under thumb.

And this, in a nutshell, was why Jesus ended up nailed to a cross.