The New Year falls a week after Christmas. The old pagan ritual that celebrated the the dark and the path back to the warmth, light and rebirth of spring. A festival of hope. The darkest days are behind and the future is bright.
In our modern world there are remnants of that Holiday buried under layers of crass commercialism, cynical trappings of joy and peace.But if you look deep and just feel you find the flickering flame of hope still illuminating the dark winter landscape. It's as if it's still coded in our cultural DNA or RNA. A memory, fleeting yet compelling, forcing us to believe that as the days grow longer we can keep the darkness and cold at bay.
There are tidings of comfort and joy. We wish each other peace and happiness. Resolutions are made to improve one as a person. We look back at the losses of the previous year, thinking of those no longer with us.
The resolutions are seldom kept. The Holiday wishes are rote, the meanings lost in a sea of swirling cynicism and pious platitudes.Gift giving has become a contact sport, We keep score. The human herd tramples one another for a great deal. We assault each other for the big screen TV. We jostle and jockey for the must have toy of the year. For some reason production never ramps up to meet demand to ease any shortages.
The parties become an excuse for excess. We eat too much. We drink too much. All under the guise of celebration of a religious birth and the end of a year.
Still the facade of hope at times brings forth the best of us even as we wear our worst behavior as armor. Someone anonymously pays the lay away balances for some who struggle to provide a bit of joy for their children.In an economy that's hammering the poor we still dig deep to fund the charities that help the needy among us in this wealthy nation.
Somehow we still hope. We reach out toward the light even as we struggle in the dark with our cultural demons.In this season we see both the best of us and the worst. Perhaps one yule we may be able to strike a balance. Not this year. Likely not next year either. But someday.
If humanity stops trying to emulate the divine what's the point? We improve the way we treat our fellows or we sink into a morass of apathy and despair. Maybe we can do it one smile at a time. Reach out with a hand, to help, not to slap.
Maybe one day we can actually behave as if we believe in this season of hope and joy. Act as if we care enough that it is no longer an act.
That would be a gift, indeed.
Happy New Year.