A Zen Christmas: Rise Above It

christmas-card-zenPost written by Monica Gaylor.

I am kind of at a loss for words on the subject of Christmas anymore.  As a Zen Atheist (can that be a thing?), I don’t celebrate it.  But, I love the Christmas music and the general cheer of the season.  I, too, have fond memories of Christmas celebrated as a child and young person that center around family gatherings.  Yeah, the presents were great, but the best part was going to see the extended family (and eating ourselves into a coma).  Grandpa always made a turkey in the ground and it was most heavenly.

Every year I tell myself that I am not going to let Black Friday get to me and I am certainly not going to write about it.  I am going to rise above it and people can do whatever they do…

I set myself up for failure sometimes.  And too often at that.  I guess I see the world from my own little bubble and I think that everyone must be in my bubble with me.  After all, I walk around and interact with all kinds of people?  It is very perplexing indeed.

So, driving home from Thanksgiving at a friends house, I decided I would drive by the new Wal-Mart that just opened in my neighborhood.  I wanted to see how many people were camped out waiting for it to open on -wait for it – Thanksgiving.  It was, in my mind, a tourist attraction; a rarity that doesn’t happen that often.  I know you are already thinking – what a dweeb.  But really, I thought there would be like 3 people in line.  I had such hope of sanity restored.  Seriously, all kinds of people talked about not going shopping on Thanksgiving.  Apparently, my bubble is big.  Or, just an elaborate illusion that I have created in my own mind?image

It was 6:30-ish when I pulled in the parking lot and there was a very long line.  But, I soon realized that the store was already open.  I thought it wasn’t opening until 8:00 p.m. – hence the “camped out” people.   And as I looked at the parking lot that was so full and bursting with parked cars, I realized that the store had opened and reached its maximum occupant capacity and the people standing in line were the overflow that were waiting to get in when someone left.  Yes, that sound you hear is my bubble bursting.

Maybe stores opened last year on Thanksgiving and I missed it – or more likely I buried the whole traumatic experience?  I think that must be it.  Amnesia.

My cynical side says to America, land of Consumerism – the new religion:  “Let us not go halfway down the slope.  Go all the way.  Open the stores on Christmas Day.  That way, at 7 a.m., after all the presents have been opened and contentment is nowhere to be found, one can immediately run back to the stores and start shopping for it again.”

dr-seuss-quote-and-the-grinch-with-his-grinch-feet-ice-cold-in-theMy positive side immediately searches the world for those with similar views in order to restore and rebuild my bubble.  And perhaps, I have stumbled upon my own Zen Atheist Miracle?  What is the saying about difficult times making for strange alliances?  I find, oddly, that my bubble is inhabited by two people that could probably not be farther right and farther left, but have somehow managed to meet in the middle in regards to common sense and humanity.  My hat is off to Pope Francis.  Read article:  Pope Francis: The War on Poverty vs. the War on Christmas.

I would like to wish all a wonderful and sensible holiday season.

As always – May the force be with you.

And – Live long and prosper.