20 December 2009

Merry Christmas (almost)

Merry Christmas! I know, not quite, but who knows when I'll get to sit my butt down at the computer for 10 minutes between now and Christmas? I have stuff to do! Seriously, not as much as many. I love Christmas, so I try not to fuck it up by being stressed out for it. Still, I have some presents to buy (kids - almost done and husband, barely started), a ton of gluten-free, corn-free, dairy-free, nut-free baking to do, and I have to work on Wednesday and Thursday morning! Crazy. And yet, I love it.

Bear with me through this post, I'm gonna ramble, fersure.

Christmas is, to me, a crazy, wonderful time. When I was a kid, it was full of awe and wonder, with presents and lights and fires in the fireplace and family and the Christmas story. Funny aside: Sing "... on a cold winter's night that was so deep" to a child in Saskatchewan, and chances are, she imagines Mary and Joseph in a barn huddling up for warmth in -30 weather. Or maybe it's just me. :) Anyway, now it's a time of watching the kids enjoy it. Crackle's face lit up like the Christmas tree itself when I asked him if he wanted to set up the tree. He remembered, that's for sure. For reference, he's the 3.5 year old. He and his little brother Pop went to see Santa. Crackle doesn't talk, but he sure enjoyed touching the Santa's (terribly fake) beard. I have since lost the pictures (dude. wtf? how am I that unorganized?!) but I assume they will turn up in August. I like going to the mall and watching the people scramble for gifts. I like smiling and saying Merry Christmas to anyone who looks at me. I like the lights. I like the songs. I like the stories. I like all of it.

Now, as to whether or not a baby was born in a stable to a teenager named Mary who may or may not have gotten it on with her fiancé Joseph, I don't know. I don't really care, to be quite honest. If it's all myth, it's all myth. The power is in the story. The retelling. The imagery. The vision. Imagine. A child born in an occupied country to woman who would have been killed if her boyfriend had decided he didn't trust her word and according to one gospel, an angel. Born in the barn with the animals. Imagine that was today. Where would that child be born? Sudan? Afghanistan? Palestine? Would the Saviour be a girl? Would anyone know?

The story of this poor child, son of a carpenter, changed the world. There's nary a square inch of the world that hasn't been touched by Christianity. Not always for the better, unfortunately, when the message was so clear. It all boils down to "Don't be an asshole": If someone needs help, help them. If someone is hungry, feed them. Try not to tailgate or cut people off in traffic. Be nice to the poor schmuck at the gas station who is pumping your gas. You know, don't be an asshole.

And what are we, as a society, doing this Christmas? Being assholes. Witness Stephen Harper and the Weasels he calls his cabinet. Actually trying to cover up the fact that they are responsible for the torture of prisoners. Torture! And their supporters, who are, ironically the loudest supporters of Christianity, are defending them. Defending them! It's mindblowing. Of course, these are the same douchebags that insist Jesus would have cast out the gays.

So I'm giving money to charities (my favourite is Our Place - go give them a few bucks, please. They do great work and there isn't a lot of advertising. I know the guy who runs it and he does a hell of a great job.) I'm talking about politics to anyone interested - the more people who know about what's going on, the better. I'm praying. I'm reading. I'm writing. 

There is so very much suffering in the world, it makes me hurt just thinking about it. And I wonder if there aren't a million little babies out there who could grow up to change the world. Or if there aren't a million ignored poor people in impoverished or occupied lands who might be the next person to change the world. God only knows.

Here are some suggestions for Christmas cheer:
- Buy some really nice warm long underwear. Or a pair of wool socks. Give it to a homeless person.
- Donate some money to Unicef - Spread the Net is a great initiative. $10 buys a mosquito net to prevent a kid from getting malaria. $10!
- Say Merry Christmas to anyone who happens to make eye contact with you.
- Give a box of chocolates to your mail carrier. Or the bus driver on your route. Or a cashier you see a lot.
- Pay for the person behind you at the parkade. You might not know how much they owe, but you can always chip in $5, and if the parkade dude pockets it, well so what? You gave him the present.
- Think 100%  tips. The holidays are stressful for the service industry workers. Tip them really well. Take it from me, nothing is more cheering than getting a huge tip.

Merry Christmas if you celebrate it. Have a great day if you don't.