What kind of holiday season are you anticipating for yourself and your loved ones?
Historically I have spent December in a state of mild depression; in bewilderment of and with vague disdain for the retail season that often concludes with a norovirus. For many years I've greeted the new year as if it were the cavalry, come to save my hide from ruin. Finally, we can all move on.
This year I stand as if paralyzed. Our country has devolved into an international joke. Who can think about holidays when next year, people might be persecuted for lighting the menorah? Yet I am drawn to the lights I see, the normalcy of heavy traffic near the mall and the rich holiday foods at the grocery store. It's Christmastime, and Christmas is a liniment for the soul. In the past I've dwelt upon the fuss that is made over a day. I've argued, to myself mostly, that the spirit of it was what mattered and one might try to practice generosity all the time instead of saving it all for one day. I admit this is perhaps sanctimonious of me. I know myself all too well, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Alas; at least I won't stop trying. To be present and generous now is all that I can do.
It is difficult to stay in the seat of now while our country is crumbling at the foundation. What of next year? What kind of holiday season will that be? I imagine the retail machine ever more garish, cheaply pasted together; while retail workers still don't make a liveable wage. I imagine health care without reform, with overtime pay withdrawn and pharmaceuticals priced out of the reach of the average person. I imagine families kept apart while their sons and daughters fight the new war. I imagine 500,000 teachers out of work and schools empty, while illiteracy and it's successor, poverty, spreads like plague. I imagine protestors jailed, injured and killed for speaking their hearts. I imagine good journalists silenced by threats, rewriting their columns in Newspeak with polite correction footnotes. I imagine religious and racial persecution becoming more visible and the act of rape being decriminalized. I imagine my shame when the beautiful people of Standing Rock are heinously undermined because the new regime moves forward with the pipeline anyway. I imagine a planet on the brink of total extinction because the new regime has thin skin and Tweeting has ceased being a satisfactory outlet-- and there is only one send button left to tap.
I imagine this is the last Christmas where life will look anything like it ever did since I've been alive. For that reason, I am going to celebrate it with generosity, laughter, guarded peace and measured actions. I'm squeezing in all the traditions I can because from here, it looks like I may not see them ever again. I imagine that I must never allow that to come to pass.
From the seat of now I extend love to all my brothers and sisters of the world. It is not my intention to scare you. I believe those of us who love-- be it family, planet, God, or just in general, are already scared. Those of us who love will choose action and hope over fear because it is right and true. It is the loving thing to do.
It's going to be a long road. It may even be a road of reconstruction. Whatever the case, I will do my part and continue calling the public servants in office in support of what is right and true, and I will continue to love those who need it the most.
I wish you and yours a holy season of deep joy and everlasting peace.