It’s hard to keep the Christmas spirit with so many problems going on in the world. In a time when we should be celebrating the joy of the season, and the glory of wintertime, all seems bleak. I find myself straining to sing any words of peace, goodwill or brotherhood between all peoples. I feel hate for the terrorists who have done so much damage around the nations. I feel supreme disappointment in our nation states who seem intent to sabre-rattle and show off their missiles and bombs, and aim those deadly things each other. There have been worse times in the history of the world, but never have I ever felt so helpless about the events spinning the nations toward wider warfare as I feel at this moment. Perhaps it is because I am now on the cusp of 40 and have been around this bad old globe for what amounts to half my allotted time now, the blinders of youth removed completely as I enter this second chapter. But that’s not really it, I suppose.
I can honestly say I have never felt old or even paid much attention to the swift passage of time, and I still don’t. But in the world I see today the global order itself now seems old and burnt out and grey as if it has lost that spark of confidence, hopefulness and solidarity it once had. As one of my favourite poets Wallace Stevens once wrote:
“She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.”
The Yuletide season is eternal, but we are not. So I must look to that to find any case for optimism this Christmas. I know many out there are engaged in a more personal struggle in the economic collapse we have seen in the oil and gas industry these past few years, but there are also children at home in most of these cases who need to look to mom and dad to see something of that sense of Christmas flowing through them. We must smile, put up Christmas trees, sing the holiday standards and wrap the presents in brightly coloured paper.
But more than this. We must find, against all odds, a way to truly believe in that spirit of Yule. It is only such eternal lights that can lead us out of the darkness of death, economic strife and war. I am praying to believe. I am going to act as though my prayer has been heard and answered, and the Christmas light will reach forth to illuminate the darkness within the hearts of all men. The winter, after all, is just one season in the long length of the year. Eventually its power weakens and the warmth of spring, with its lush and growing things, returns.