Charles Dickens Christmas is “mankind is my business” and drinks for everyone. It’s also Scrooge, wonderful Scrooge, so bitter and angry and not giving a shit.
Capitalist Christmas is shopping bags and shrugs at bills and permission to go lavish, “Well, just this once. It’s Christmas.” As an artist, it’s important to be lavish, regularly, to overdo, to waste, to make huge messes, like the mess of presents and wrapping and overindulgent mistakes.
When I was up at the monastery last summer, someone told me about the Blue Christmas services at her church. It’s a Christmas event where people can grieve and mourn and worry together, and not have to pretend that Christmas is the greatest thing ever. For many of us, it’s the biggest festival of the year. It whips up some big stuff, good stuff and bad.
Leftover from childhood is some thirst to have Christmas be the biggest emotional high of all time. The urge to throw all your emotional currency into one leaky basket. An excuse to live in the future, and binge on ghosts instead of solid food.
Jesus Christmas is possibly about how good things show up small and unexpected and tiny, and how being vulnerable and in the dark and available is actually better than being tough and sunny and safe and independent. It has hope and foolishness to it. It says that much of what we have been taught is backwards. It is barely believable.
This is about holiday services of mourning, remembrance, and healing: