Sunday, December 24, 2006

A holiday tree deconstructed

Just got back from a Christmas wander through Katoomba; possibly my last. I'm happy to settle for "merry christmas" as a way of greeting the passer-by one ignores all the rest of the year. And I am still quite a traditionist when it comes to Christmas. This year I bought wildly extravagant salads in David Jones Food Hall and a big Christmas ham from Franklin's to balance things. It was roughly the same amount spent on the two strands of the family - the vegetarians, and carnivores - though I'm more your omnivore as I can happily eat vegetarian food meal after meal (but not with a leg of ham in the fridge). My new fridge is smaller but I can squeeze it all in.

Why do I like Christmas (not, repeat, CHRISTmas)? Because I grew up in a Christian household. We wore it more lightly than some but I was naturalised to its customs and did all my unpicking when I left home. I had such a jolly time that I wanted my kids to get the same colour and excitement from Christmas as I did (and I'd call it Xmas except my folks didn't like the term) We've pretty much succeeded but, a couple of years into a divorce, we're only just having separate mum/dad Christmas and I'm pretty much prepared (see above para.) so yay Christmas.


I've been thinking some more about that twinkly poison bush email and trying to reconcile it with my own appreciation of Christmas tradition. The expression 'Muslim bitch' even in smaller footnotes - to the "witty" rant about what a CHRISTmas Tree was - would never have appeared in any of our post-Christmas ruminations. We thought of going and getting the tree (and we lived on a farm named Pine Grove so this was a relatively easy task but one bestowed with a good deal of ceremony)but not of using it in some polarising polemic that actually puts people off their tucker.
I, therefore, consider this email to be very unChristmassy in both its approach and its subject matter.

Another thing I should add (on Christmas Eve, he really does have everything organised!) is that the phrase '[...] bitch' is quite contentless. Try it yourself. Ready? mistletoe bitch, Burl Ives bitch, der Bingle bitch, Israel Balin bitch
I'm writing my list, I'm checking it twice

Now, about that snow, what is your main problem? Do you agree with the US law allowing the use of peyote for religious purposes? You don't own any Bob Marley albums do you? Uh huh, religious purposes. Let's see, what would I rather a religious adherent does: take their belief so seriously that hitting me with a chunk of my own goddamn masonry is preferable to selling rock stars their coke. Am I that fucked up an individual?

When you start categorising people by the faith they subscribe to, the reductionism is without limit. That is, provided you're willing to see through your viewpoint on the world. After all you can't be a Christian who goes to the odd service and attends christenings and weddings, and then say on the other hand that Muslims are all completely committed and crazed. Doesn't equate. You might be a little low on the 'give away all your worldly goods and follow me' commie Christ when it comes to being charitable. Yet you condemn a whole group of people by the actions of their most militant brothers. Are you going to take responsibility for the burning of books, the razing of complex civilisations, the torment and torture of draconian laws and deep divisions and schisms everlasting?

You're not?

Then you must think you are just one part of the warp and weave of Christendom, a small part of teeming millions who believe that an incarnation of Big Feller God came to Earth and lived as a man and died for our sins. The point of Christmas - and of following Christ's example - is to be loving and forgiving. Yet all you can do is turn the water of life into a whine and get your facts wrong.

Next time, just send the card.


At 9:29 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like you have Christmas, its spirit, and all that it entails firmly in hand. Have a good one and enjoy the time with your family which is, as you say what it truly is all about. Be loved and love.

At 6:16 am , Blogger Sherry Pasquarello said...

oh i loved the last line.

yes, love and kindness . if we could just try, just try, to treat others as we would want to be treated what a grand world we could leave to our children and grandchildren.


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