Thursday, November 30, 2006

Terminal Uniqueness is thrust upon CC

A few days ago, I was talking to one of my friends, who happens to be a Christian, about how I was feeling blue. I explained that I feel blue often during the Christmas season* It's not seasonal affective disorder. It's this holiday. I really don't like Christmas.

"Well, of course you don't," she said, her voice the tiniest bit snippy. "You don't have any reason to."

I probably shouldn't have been, but I was a little bit appalled to hear it that way. She gave me significant crap about it when I became a UU, but I thought we were kinda past that. Guess not.

I thought about explaining the "Christmas as a celebration of that Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men** concept," but didn't.

Perhaps it would have been worth saying "Actually, it's not the lack of a savior that's the issue or Easter might well depress me, too. My beef is more the enforced cheer and family togetherness aspects. Christmas with my folks and brothers isn't exactly a great time and hanging out with a happy family around the holidays is fun, but at the end of the night, I often feel like Scrooge standing out in the snow, watching the Crachits celebrate together inside."

I didn't bother to say any of those things, though. I just changed the subject


*Though I generally don't write about feeling sad much as reading a depressed person's blogging doesn't even sound fun to ME.

**Because I know LinguistFriend is going to read this, I feel I have to mention that I know the "Goodwill toward men" bit is a misquotation and the phrase in the properly-translated bible isn't nearly so inclusive or loving. But UUs can still celebrate "Goodwill toward" everybody, and we often do.


Joel Monka said...

I don't use the "celebration of that Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men concept"- I say that you don't have to worship Jesus to celebrate his birth. He was a great man, and the world is a better place for his having been here- we celebrate lesser men for lesser reasons.

Lilylou said...

It's tough to be expected to be cheery when you don't and it's tough to be misunderstood when you confide this feeling in someone you hope will understand and listen. I'm sorry that happened to you, CC. You don't deserve it and you're entitled to your feelings regardless of whether they make others happy or not.

Just hanging around today watching the snow melt---finally---before heading off to Vashon tomorrow.

Anonymous said...


It's the most wonderful time of the year.


I'll be honest with you. Christmas time spent with my mother's side of the family was a celebration of neither peace, nor joy, nor love, nor family.

It was tense, competitive, and full of petty rivalry.

This is why I no longer attend Christmas dinner with them.

fausto said...

Your friend sounds like a rather shaloow Christian. Over on the Christian-to-Christian Debate board, like clockwork every year right around now, a heated argument breaks out about the authenticity of Christmas. The argument usually goes something like this:

Scrooge: Christmas is nothing but a pagan corruption of true Christianity. Nothing in the Bible says Jesus was born on December 25. It's just [insert name of any one of dozens of pagan solstice festivals here] in disguise. There were no trees or mistletoe in the Bible. And look at all the blasphemous materialism. Even Santa is a false god. Rearrange the letters and it spells Satan.

Scrooge's Nephew: Yes, but Jesus did bring new light into the world, and it's appropriate to celebrate that sometime, so why not do it when the sun starts climbing in the sky again? Besides, the traditions have taken on legitimate meaning in themselves.

[Apologies, of course, to Famous UU Charles Dickens.]

Oddly, though nearly everyone there takes Jesus' divinity for granted, it's unusual that anyone on either side of the debate tries to assert that you should feel joyful in the pre-Christmas season because Jesus really is about to arrive on December 25, or really did so once upon a time. They'll argue about the veracity of the Nativity story in Luke, but not about how jolly you ought to feel before Christmas. If anything, a lot of them lament that the appropriately wistful, empty feeling of Advent is not widespread enough.

Jamie Goodwin said...

Don't get me wrong, I love my family, I am lucky to be in one that does celebrate love and togetherness at Christmas.

To me, Christmas is really all about family.

But not just the one I was born with. I am a firm believer in the fact that we each can choose our own families and these may or may not include our blood relatives.

The oddest thing, I always disliked Christmas until I became a UU.. and now I love it.

PeaceBang said...

I put up my tree today because if I'm not a little bit in the Christmas spirit, I can't really bring it to my congregation.

I really hate the unfair expectations that Xmas sets up. I like it a lot better when I treat it as a quiet little religious observance. I'm alone on Christmas by choice. I do private religious things that no one wants to hear about, drink champagne, open gifts, and rest.

Only after the actual holiday is over will I drag my sorry ass onto the Amtrak and go see fambly.

Anonymous said...

I like what Joel Monka said. Jesus was indeed a good person, and I love Christianity for its compassion and its beautiful stories. Just because you don't technically follow every last bit of doctrine (or any at all) doesn't mean you can't celebrate a holiday you love.