Let Us Not Rejoice
A rant, in fragments.
“We’ll rant and we’ll roar like true Newfoundlanders.”
Some thoughts on Christmas, written on Christmas morning. -JRS
I. ‘TIS NOT THE SEASON, NECESSARILY, FOR ...
(He’s making a list.)
People who are alone. People who’d rather be alone. People away from family. People with family that they’d rather be away from. People unhappy in their relationship or marriage. People navigating custody, multiple Christmases. People who do all the decorating, the cooking and baking, the cleaning-up. People who have a complicated relationship with alcohol and drugs. People who have a complicated relationship with food and eating. People struggling with depression or anxiety. People struggling with depression and anxiety.
You get the point, people: a lot of people.
II. A CONSUMPTION CAROL
“Good Spirit,” he pursued, as down upon the ground he fell before it: “Your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life.”1
Our Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come might intercede for nature, instead. Moved past pity and beyond pointing, the Phantom might implore us, in a vision of a far less hospitable planet, to stop, simply to stop. This would be appropriate: A Christmas Carol is a political parable, in addition to a personal one.2
III. THIS IS CHRISTMAS. SO?
This is not about Christmas, not really; it’s about this thing that Christmas has become, this thing that starts in the fall and stretches into the New Year. Months long, omnipresent.
Likewise, “let us not rejoice” is not a play on Psalm 118, but a plea, for those who enjoy Christmas to have some grace for those of us who don’t, or are unable to.
Rejoice, if you like! But please, let us not.
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens.
Biographer Michael Slater wrote that Dickens intended A Christmas Carol “to open its readers’ hearts towards those struggling to survive on the lower rungs of the economic ladder and to encourage practical benevolence, but also to warn of the terrible danger to society created by the toleration of widespread ignorance and actual want among the poor.”