Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas

Old women pass, as Christmas music floats within the stream of shuffling feet and crinkling shopping bags…  as old women meet and exchange greetings. Plastic cards and small pieces of paper switch hand. Fussing of children. Angry middle age women clench fists around handfuls of coupons. As old women swap only greetings and recycled bits of news…
They are the only ones to stop here in this moment…
Others busy them selves with the push and pull…
Old women stand and talk…

Simple observations. Observations which where interrupted by the reply a woman made to one of my collages upon receiving a hearty ‘Merry Christmas.’

“It so nice to hear that someone in retail still says Merry Christmas…”

Someone? Does someone include the dozen other workers? How about the throng of women wearing holiday buttons proclaiming the reason for the season… Or all of those old women exchanging just the same exact greeting. The war on Christmas is nothing more then an argument between pundits. Spend a few days, weeks, or months in retail being asked by old men if your really still allowed to say such thing as Merry Christmas and you to will observe the same. Seasonal greetings, from the perspective of anyone having passed such time in retail, become as cliché as hallmark greeting cards and soda commercials.  At times one feels the vein wish to avoid all such greetings in order to simply refuse to recognize the so-called reason for the season.

Many pundits would point to this emotional reaction as the apocalyptic conclusion to the so-called war on Christmas. Argue as you may about the purpose of the separation of church and state in the bill of rights, or the declarations made in the Treaty of Tripoli, or the morality of ‘blue’ laws, or even the history of how our first congress snubbed the Christmas Holiday altogether for some sixty odd years. Christmas is more alive then ever before. And in a season of holiday greetings and gift buying and other merry making I am much less concerned about the ‘War on Christmas,’ and more interested in why no one seems to have a problem with the Magi?

I am of course here being facetious. But do those old women, posed in conversation remember the Magi of old? The wise men, who after riding from Babylon, and coming to the town of Bethlehem,

“Saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

Those strangely ‘oriental’ figures, with the dark skin complications of Middle Eastern peoples. I have set here two in my nativity. Three small Fisherprice Little People wise men wearing Arab head dress. For some odd reason mine are distinctly Asian, African, and Anglo Saxon in respective complications… But maybe that’s just it. We don’t have real wise men anymore, just a collective group of sudo-multicultural individuals carrying non-descript presents for the son of some monotheistic God. Is this what we where supposed to be afraid of? That secularism and political corrective-ness might rob us of the fact that the first group of men to travel into the lands of Judea to recognize our lord in savor where a bunch of Middle Eastern guys?

           In a world where it is unacceptable to portray Muslims as ‘normal people,’ or to utilize them as the sort of people who make for compiling reality television characters it is also very much unacceptable to recognize their role in the nativity. Or to recognize that Muslims may not celebrate Christmas but that they have recognized Jesus in their own unique way. Just as so many ‘fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each others salvation…’ many more fall to their knees and proclaim those very places of worship besieged by legions of atheists and Muslims bent on their destruction!

           The rest of us keep shopping. A few of us stop to reflect and share what may be our last moments with a passing friend. I do my duty to the company and continue to pass out the appropriate greetings of my choosing. In the evening I will go home and put on an old record and pour a glass of whiskey. And in the quite of night I’ll meditate quietly, wondering to my self, where my missing Joseph figurine is…

Merry Christmas

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