Little drummer boy
According to some poll flagged on Drudge, nearly half of Americans dread Christmas, & are stressed by its approach. They can’t afford it, & don’t actually like it. Yet all the same, & regardless of their present financial state, they feel obliged to spend as much as last year — on tawdry gifts from the shopping malls, for people they often despise. Well, we began to expand upon the findings of that poll at the long dash.
Post-Christian Christmas remains a family event, both for those in families & — in their abject loneliness & self-conceit — for those no longer in families. Within any given familial loop, however, there would seem to be a battle raging. Our analogy would be to Gaza. Parties to the conflict might genuinely wish to negotiate a truce, or at least de-escalate the Christmas gift bombing. After all, no one really much likes what he is getting. But it is too dangerous to go first, & there are no reliable or disinterested referees. The arms traders — or rather, the mall retailers in our analogy — are the beneficiaries, because our only safe course is to continue pounding away, tit for tat with the gift-wrapped boxes. Break for even a moment, & the other side will declare victory.
Now, gentle reader may think that we will sneer, predictably, at the commercialization of Christmas, then recommend instead the recovery of an explicitly religious festival. And that is exactly what we will do, though we find it wearying.
It is also increasingly difficult. It strikes us that the most formal proponent of the strictest Materialism could somehow cope with the odd Nativity display, which costs him nothing. Alas, in the name of “tolerance,” the Left Gestapo are busy lawyering Christian symbols out of existence.
The two phenomena are not unrelated; just as “capitalism” & “communism” were not unrelated. The reduction by our liberal Victorian ancestors of life to economic relations, & of religion to sentimentality, created the conditions for “scientific materialism.” It starts with commercialization, & ends where it ends. The addling of the human mind & spirit through materialism creates the conditions for the triumph of what St Catherine of Siena called, accurately, “devils in human flesh.”
She was, as a young woman in the 14th century (died age 33), writing truth to power: & saying the most extraordinarily bold things to the faces of the princes of the Church. They had fallen into the pursuit of mere wealth & power, & had ceased to care, whether for their flocks, or for the broadest interests of Christendom. To the credit of that age, even Popes listened up. This is, for us post-moderns, an unbelievable history, yet materially demonstrable in every improbable point: for St Catherine exerted an influence on actual events quite possibly beyond that of any woman in history. She did so on instruction, as the voice of God. Men heard her, & discerned her Master, & finally, obeyed.
But we are living in an age vastly more corrupt than that of the later Middle Ages. Consider, even in the shallowest practical terms. North Americans have glibly exterminated around 60 million children under their “right” to abortion — exterminated the workers, the taxpayers, the citizens needed to pay their wretched pensions today, under the Ponzi schemes of Nanny State. Forget God for a moment & look at the direct, material consequences of this unprecedented genocide. And then, consider what the spiritual ramifications might be.
We are entering a period of darkness, to which facile complaint about “the commercialization of Christmas” would seem an inadequate response. It is, but could become the beginning of a response more adequate. We need, this Christmas, to eschew the idiot gifts; & instead to buy into spiritual rejuvenation, before the image of the newborn Christ. And we may find the time to plot our personal strategies, through a shopping-free Advent.