A Christmas wish . . .

Christmas just ain’t like it used to be. As a young man – five decades ago – there was still considerable spirituality associated with the occasion. Not so much these days, though.

Xmas has triumphed and capitalism with all its capacity for excess has supplanted spirituality with greed, crassness and conspicuous consumption. Hardly admirable qualities but oh, so typical of the modern world.

Once upon a time most people regarded this as the season of goodwill to all men (feminism was not even a thought bubble back then!). Now, you can be abused, threatened and even murdered in an outburst of car park rage. And don’t dare swerve while driving to the shops in case you get a torrent of foul language from an idiot who thinks road rage is his right because his own driving skills are so exemplary. Yeah, right!

Even the notion of gift giving has been scandalously debased. Now, we continually analyse and appraise: Oh, how much will he/she spend on me and how much must I spend on him/her to be seen to do justice to their gift? All that stress we impose on ourselves when there really is no valid way of knowing the correct answer. If, indeed, there is even such a thing as the correct answer. We’re mad. And we do it to ourselves!

Then, there’s Xmas lunch or dinner. What a travesty that has become. No longer do we celebrate our good fortune by supping on nature’s bounty, as ever humble as it might have been. Now, the circus we live in demands that we laden our tables with so much food that delirious, famine-starved people all across the globe could not even begin to imagine in their most fervid dreams.

Now, there’s even a new slant of sordid selfishness to this bastardised ritual as we strain to wish the Xmas festivities be over so we can indulge our relentless pursuit of ‘having things’ by orgasming over the post-Xmas sales. Once this was situated as ‘the January sales’ but then it crept back to the ‘Boxing Day sales’ and now avaricious retailers trot out pre-Christmas specials just to lighten our wallets and purses. It’s sick, sick, sick.

And what values do we display to our up-and-coming new generations? Spoil them rotten. Indulge them beyond belief. Make them think that goodness is somehow tied to expenditure. What a tragic farce. We are perverting the future leadership of the world. And we still expect/hope it will be a better place? Get outta here.

And what of religions in all this mess? The two major religious belief systems are engaged in conflicts all across the globe. Lovely spirit of ecumenicalism right there. No wonder capitalism is winning by default. At least it doesn’t profess to values. Almost a refreshing contrast to those who dare to suggest they offer us moral and ethical guidance but who cannot escape the damnable shame of child sexual abuse or the torture of females and the murderous suppression of those who happen to worship another deity.

A pox on all their houses, I say.

So, for those of us who wish we lived in a more pleasant, reasonable and well-adjusted world, let us hope that sanity will prevail even in our own enclaves if not for all of humankind. It would be lovely to think the world might change for the better but there is sadly not a skerrick of evidence to offer hope that it do so.

All we can do is live by our ideals and values and hope that our examples might somehow indicate a better way. It ain’t much but it’s all we’ve got.

Merry Christmas!