Wednesday, November 29, 2017
One can make the case that “this season to be Jolly” is a code phrase for commercial madness. It is surely that. But beyond, or in spite of this, there is a loss of holy memory, generations of tradition and a whole lot more. It's not just the department store sales craziness and the eternal playing of Feliz Navidad. It is the “something's missing” feeling.
One neighbor down the lane has a sign that reads “Put Christ back in Christmas.” At first I thought he was a religious fanatic. But he's not. He is just an ordinary guy who urges passersby to rethink what this time of year is all about. Nowadays, I agree with him.
When I was a little guy my brothers and I sat at our mother's knee while she read us the story of Jesus Christ and his birth long ago in some faraway place called Bethlehem. It had great impact on us then, and still has in spite of innumerable klutzy readings in religious settings by well-intentioned souls. So that's where I am coming from, supporting a sense of reverence trying to survive in a swamp of hucksterism.
Working in Manhattan for decades had me a goy among the Jewish crowd. I had reverence for their traditions and holy days, Passover especially. I respected too where they are coming from.
My personal hope is that we ALL pause and remember what is really worth remembering. And by the way, giving gifts is part of the tradition, just as those notables did when they visited that newborn lying in a manger.