There is a lot of it about….the Taxi driver remarked. The ” it” was Christmas “spirit”… as he went on to describe an explosion of apparent bonhomie coupled with nervous exhaustion and anxious anticipation. It was, of course, the party season of all the party seasons. His good humour was being tested he said..too many over indulgences with the consequence of spilled drinks and worse in the back of his usually pristine vehicle. Agh…how he enjoyed recounting the numerous drink fuelled high-octane arguments between couples he’d heard in the last week ,how many tearful recriminations he’d overheard.
And ” don’t start me on all the rubbish folk buy..piling in with their bags and moaning about how it’s all too much.” Oh, ok.
And in the background I hear the radio presenter cheerfully declare “it’s a time for the children “. Oh, really.
I find it all too easy to be cynical, and jump on the anti-Christmas train of critical disengagement. The ‘holiday season’ as it’s come to be called isn’t much of a break for many ..let alone a ‘ holy -day’ season. I too bow to the pressure of the hurried acquisition of material goods to bestow on others, I reluctantly acquiesce to the unusually frequent demands for sociability, and sink into the tinsel faded familiarity of past routines of ‘doing Christmas’.
Like the taxi driver, I’ve witnessed the personal anxiety and heard the accounts of how Christmas provokes discomfort and distress. How family , their presence and their absence, can create massive conflicted emotions. How the desire to belong clashes with the need to be independent. How the desire for faith in humanity ( and beyond) is destroyed by cruelty and pain.
In the confusion of contrary emotions, the turmoil of our thoughts and the paralysis of our self, I encourage the emergence of permission …giving to oneself the awareness and vital energy that is essentially ours to claim. It’s the OK-ness that we seek and are. It’s the embodied OK-ness that is at the heart of the Christmas narrative. It is the existential reality of the ‘word’ becoming ‘flesh’. A radical narrative and a radical gift we can give to ourselves and each other.