Monday, December 15, 2008

My Annual Holiday Editorial (Since I Don't Know What Else To Call It)

This has almost become an annual thing for me. It seems I wrote about the same subject last year, but this time I think I've been maybe a little more thoughtful....

Greg Lake wrote "I Believe In Father Christmas" in 1975. In an interview, he talked about why he wrote it - specifically the sadness and disappointment some feel when the excitement and anticipation they feel as children departs over time or is destroyed at some point. He goes beyond that in making reference to how over time the meaning of Christmas had been diluted and made to be a shadow of what it is supposed to be.

I understand that sadness he talks about. In my own journey I've talked about how much trouble I have with Christmas, for lack of better words, as an "institutional holiday", if that makes sense. Growing up, I know my parents tried hard to make it a good day for us kids, but something always seemed to screw that up somehow. And it never got better. As an adult, when my own children were young I did everything I could to make their day as happy as possible. But that even got screwed up - when I was on my own as a single parent a number of things happened that made it extremely difficult for a while to survive (that was a really frightening experience), much less be able to give my kids positive memories of the holidays when they were young. I tried, but I'm not sure how successful I was.

Even today I still have trouble with holidays, especially Christmas. This year is a little different, however; I think many people have realized that it's not about the craziness of "getting the right gift" for someone because the vast majority of us simply can't afford to do it. My wife has the same attitude towards holidays that I do, and if possible she has even more trouble with them. Part of why she has such a problem with them is that she suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and last year was especially bad because of the weather. We're trying to fend that off for this coming winter because we don't want to have a repeat. - it was no fun. Aside from that, though, it is just a difficult time of year to have to endure. About the only thing that I can do is keep myself focused on the meaning of Christmas; as long as I keep in mind why we're supposed to celebrate this holiday, I can manage.

Back to Greg Lake. In the interview, he talked at length about why he wrote the song. It was not an "anti-Christmas" song, as many people have said. In fact, it is a sad commentary of what the holiday had become. However, there is a little bit of hope at the end, touched perhaps with a hint of cynicism. Personally, I always opt for hope.....

1 comment:

Michael Morse said...

"The Christmas we get, we deserve."

Great words. You get out of life what you put in. Too many people expect the miracle of Christmas to just happen, and when it doesn't dissapointment sets in.

I say this time of year is perfect to regroup, reflect and appreciate what is good in this life. Some years are better than others, but through it all one fact remains; we need something to celebrate, so lets celebrate together!

Some say the Christians stole Christmas from the Pagans who celebrate the beginning of longer days, others believe that non Christians have no right to celebrate their holiday. Personally, I always feel something special in the air this time of year, and whatever it is I try to hold onto it.

The human spirit is a resilient thing. When one person is down and out they can be lifted by others whose spirit is soaring.

If they allow it.

Thanks for the post Walt, I always loved that song.