No Black Friday Tasing or Pepper Spray was used in the making of my peaceful winter Sunday. It is merely the 25th of December to me.
I'm not a Christian so it makes no more sense for me to celebrate Christmas than it would for me to celebrate Hanukkah, not being Jewish. Do I wish everyone I meet on the street Happy Hanukkah? Do you? Does every greeter at Wall-Mart? The only significance to this particular day to me is an outworn convention I can't shake kinda like a tick. I get a call from an old friend and we trade holiday well wishes. I guess it's harmless. The best thing about the 25th of December is the lengthening of the days.
But I can't leave the subject of the birth of Jesus Christ without wondering what he'd think of the way Christians celebrate his birthday. What's up with the Pagan "Christmas Tree" and the Black Friday shopping stampedes that result in trampling of children, of guns and tasers and pepper spray being pulled and used by shoppers bent on being the first to get at that X, Y, Or X bargain worth sleeping out over night for, worth nearly dying for, worth nearly killing for? It all seems awfully far from the spirit of Christianity.
The best stories of the season have been the ones of people helping the homeless, feeding the hungry, sheltering others from the cold and sharing what little we have in times of scarcity. The Occupy movement has embodied this impulse to share. The riot police with their billy clubs and rubber bullets, their pepper spray and the relish with which they use it have represented the power of the one percent. It kind of looks like Christ in humble clothing on one side and the power of a hostile state with all its money and might on the other. "Dirty hippies" on one side and the Police and Wall Street and Mayor Bloomberg on the other. Who could imagine from this tiny band of dirty hippies a national movement would grow?