It is, of course, Christmas Day, and I hope all of you reading this are in a warm, happy place today. We chose not to put up a tree or decorations this year, which has served to underline, for me, the multicultural aspects of the day. I know the term ‘multicultural’ is a dirty word in some circles, but it applies so perfectly in this case that I fear I must risk offending the more sensitive among us by employing it here.
It’s no secret that this day exists as it does due to the long-ago confluence of at least three separate observances: the birth of Jesus Christ (in spite of the apparent unlikelihood that he was born in late December), the Jewish observance of Hanukah, and most ancient of all, the festival marking the point where daylight begins to lengthen, i.e., the Winter Solstice. I suspect that a more learned historian than I might be able to relate other religious/social events coinciding with this time of year, but the three I have cited are enough to make the point.
And that point is a happy one – it’s that this can be a day for everyone to embrace, regardless of faith or culture. For religious people, it holds symbols of great promise. The same is true for the non-religious – it holds the promise that we can make it through the darkest days as a cooperative community; that we are heading towards a time of renewal, planting, and growth. If you can’t get behind those concepts, there’s another symbol of the season that’s been prepared just for you – Ebenezer Scrooge!
Ah, but we did exchange gifts here. I found that no fewer than three separate individuals had left gifts for me upon the mantel. The tag on one gift stated that it was from my roommate, CC. Another stated that it had come from Santa, whose handwriting is startlingly similar to CC’s. The final gift was from my cat Osiris, whose penmanship I did not take time to evaluate, since I didn’t know he could even hold a pen, much less write with one!
From Santa, I received a delightful book of photography: Chicago Then and Now by Elizabeth McNulty. From CC, I received two DVDs: South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut, and Team America: World Police. I suspect that CC must have mentioned these selections to Osiris, since he continued the Trey Parker/Matt Stone theme by giving me the entire first season of South Park on DVD. Since I only became a regular viewer of the series fairly recently, I haven’t seen many of the early episodes. We lost no time in loading up the DVD player and taking in the first regular episode, titled “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe.” I guess I’m just a sucker for the Christmas spirit!
I hope Santa was good to all of you as well!