Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Christmas is Over

January 07th, 2018 by G.

Christmas is over. Here’s my favorite thing of this year’s season

Via Instapundit.

There’s often a bit of melancholy at Christmas.  Have you ever noticed how many Christmas songs are touched with a little bit of sadness?  “Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow.”  Depression is just grey, but you have to be truly merry for real melancholy.

The American Christmas is one of our main cultural products.  I think the touch of melancholy is inherent in it. Not just because of the outsized merriment and build-up, and the quick end.  I think it comes from the beginning.  The American Christmas is mostly a product of the 20s-40s era (and probably even a little earlier).  Not coincidentally, this was also the era of Catholic-Protestant-Jew, so the American Christmas highlighted a non-religious basis to the holiday.  Not coincidentally, through all the other trappings, that basis was getting together as a family.  Kids opening presents under the tree.  Not coincidentally, because that era was also the era of major urbanization in American life and the  move away from the farms.  Americans had always been mobile, but for the first time they were looking at a way of life they’d left behind, so there was the potential for nostalgia.  And for the first time, they were well off enough and transportation was good enough that they could go back home to the old folks for the holidays.  Specifically, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  So the American Christmas has this element of seeing your family again for a brief, merry time, before you part to go back to your workaday lives.  “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.”

But Christmas melancholy is not solely American and solely secular.  There has always been a feeling about Christmas that it takes us out of the ordinary and into brief contact with the numinous.  Hence the legends of animals briefly talking on Christmas Eve, and religious services right at midnight, trying to capture that miraculous moment of transition, when Christ came into the world. That is why, to me, Jimmy Stewart briefly coming before the manger on Christmas Eve in Mr. Kreuger’s Christmas is the iconic Christmas scene.  And then the moment is over, the revelation of the Christchild is done, and we resume our daily lives.  Hopefully bettered by seeing him, but what for a small moment is real is now like the memory of a daydream.

This Christmas, though, I have had an inkling that someday we will find we had it all backwards.  This life is the daydream.  We will come to ourselves to find that the  manger is real and always real and that we have been kneeling before it all along.



Comments (2)
Filed under: We transcend your bourgeois categories | No Tag
No Tag
January 07th, 2018 06:20:03

January 8, 2018

Love that picture.

January 9, 2018

I’ve often wondered at the melancholy of Christmas. Why the feeling of impending loss in the midst of the joy? Especially when people give their “every day can be Christmas” spiel. No, it can’t. First, that would be impossible to sustain. And second, it would destroy the set-apart nature of the time. It reminds me of the play Shadowlands, when Jack and Joy explain, at different times, that the pain now (after losing a loved one) is part of the happiness then (before the loss). “We can’t have the happiness of yesterday without the pain of today.” And we can’t have the happiness of Christmas without feeling the loss of it later.

Leave a Reply