John Lennon’s So This Is Christmas has been playing in my head for days now. I’m hardly in the mood for the season. You can call me Mrs. Humbug! for all I care. That’s right, the caring have left me bereft of sentimental emotions. The fact is I don’t do Christmas any more. There comes a time for giving up the illusions and delusions. The time is now. It doesn’t work for me any more.
Now that I’ve grown up, I can give up the charade. I’ve played the game. I did the tree, the decorations, the gifts and the whole thing. I bought it all even though it wasn’t at all in our Chinese culture to celebrate the birth of Christ. I’m living in our adopted country/culture. To fit in, to feel that I belong, I had to practice the tradition. Like they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. I believed it all, too – then. I even saw Jesus on the cross.
Do I still believe though? It’s a difficult question to answer. But I’ve lost the spirit of Christmas. I’ve lost the spirit of many things. These are hard times for the soul. Sometimes I feel the whole wide world has lost its soul. Mary Oliver’s Of the Empire says it so well.
We will be known as a culture that feared death and adored power, that tried to vanquish insecurity for the few and cared little for the penury of the many. We will be known as a culture that taught and rewarded the amassing of things, that spoke little if at all about the quality of life for people (other people), for dogs, for rivers. All the world, in our eyes, they will say, was a commodity. And they will say that this structure was held together politically, which it was, and they will say also that our politics was no more than an apparatus to accommodate the feelings of the heart, and that the heart, in those days, was small, and hard, and full of meanness.
And so it is almost Christmas. And what have I done.