Thanksgiving is a lovely idea for a celebration, don’t you think? The pagan in me appreciates the ritual of recognising the harvest’s bounty, while the old-soppy in me likes the thought of sharing warmth and love with my nearest and dearest. And yet the work event has left me feeling rather sick. The excess was/is shaming. The decadence seems too selfish – perhaps since it is not part of my native customs, I’m left feeling uncomfortable with the wasteful greed. Would I feel the same way about my family’s Christmas if I wasn’t blinded by tradition?
This has left me thinking. Since I’m not celebrating the birth of my saviour on the 25 of December, I would like to introduce some meaningful ritual to the feasting. Yule –I’ve learnt from Wikipedia — is etymologically related to yellow: it is a winter festival of light. It is a time to recognise the necessity of death for rebirth; to sacrifice in order to survive.
It seems to me that perhaps the Western world is all about the feast without the sacrifice, which leads me to ask myself how I can bring sacrifice into my winter festivities. I think I’d like to ask my Christmas companions to bring something with them to the table – a song, a prayer, a poem — something to share. I think I’d like to find a way to share our good fortune.
The only trouble is, it all sounds so false and grating doesn’t it. How can I strip it back? How to extract the meaning from the tarnished tinsel?