Monday, October 3, 2011

Paradox of the day

Yesterday I went to Stew Leonard's to pick up a couple of decorative pumpkins and a chrysanthemum plant for the season. People were being kind and respectful in spite of it being crowded. In the parking lot pushing my trolley back to the car otherwise tense atmosphere of cars and pedestrians and children all having different purposes did nothing to lesses the smiles and camaraderie that marked the hunt for holiday decorations.

I found myself contrasting this experience with last Christmas at the same Stew Leonard's. Stews had a flawless system set up for choosing and then picking up Christmas trees, and for negotiating the holiday decoration shop. But the atmosphere of the shoppers was tense, competitive, cranky, to say the least.

So-called pagan holiday - happy people. So-called religious holiday - crabbiness in the extreme. Why, given how tense the run up to Christmas makes us, why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we load up December with such high, unreachable expectations? Why, even though we know we're going to stress ourselves to the nth degree, do we not do something to change that?

I'm beginning to see why Hallowe'en is my favorite religious holiday. And I wonder, as a priest, what I can engineer this year to support people in paring back on meeting all the expectations that the Christmas holiday brings.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I had a thought: Halloween is about being somebody we're not; Christmas is about being who we are and we know we are going to fall short. In our minds Halloween doesn't matter, Christmas does.