Crafting Gentleness

Sunday, December 21, 2008


It's going to be a little bit of a strange Christmas this year. Not having Dad around is an obvious reason. Another, though, is that this is the first time I have felt properly uncanny in the midst of the celebrations - uncanny in the psychological (Freudian) sense of feeling out-of-place-at-home. I talked about this somewhat on my Strule FM radio show last week with my guest Kerill Winters, the way that being an untheist (not an agnostic - I just don't engage with the question) has me reflecting on the habits of a lifetime - the religious ceremonies, the money spent on presents, the hypercorporatism, the Christmas lights that fly in the face of the calls for us all to be more circumspect in our use of electricity, the branding saturation of our everyday with Christian symbolism completely disregarding that there are plenty of people out there who aren't Christians.

I like that we get an excuse to think more about family and relationship. I like that we get an excuse to speak more openly about listening out for people who might (but might not) like our help. But I would like it more if we didn't need the excuse in the first place.

This was the year I found out that many Quakers don't celebrate Christmas like other Christians tend to. It was the excellent BBC drama on Eddington and Einstein that let me into the open secret.

Quakers, Christmas and worship

Candles in the Window: A Quaker Christmas Story

Friends (Quakers) and Christmas

Quaker Open Christmas

This resonates very strongly with me, a return to notions of simplicity. In my own terms, perhaps a commitment to a predominantly uncommodifying quality of relationship.

How is it helpful if I buy someone a present yet do not work at being loving with them during the coming year?

There are a few writings out there for a more thoughtful Christmas ...

Reasoning Through the Season

Stan Freberg's "Green Christmas",%20GREEN%20CHRI$TMA$.htm

What Would Jesus Buy?

The Battle for Christmas, by Steve Nissenbaum

Christmas, consumerism, and climate change

Christmas Consumerism

Gene Halton from Notre Dame Sociology Department speaking on Christmas (Youtube)

A Charlie Brown Christmas


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