God Rest You

I’m certainly not the first to observe that Christmas, the Season of Peace, becomes decidedly more peaceful after December 25th.  It’s also obvious that this observation was hastened by my transition to parenthood, when Santa performance anxiety is felt most keenly.  But two days out, it seems more and more that this, the calm after the storm, is really what the holiday is about.

I’m a de facto atheist; the pedant in me insists that I not claim to know for certain that all religious claims are false, but I also don’t begin to entertain the idea that my behavior should reflect this cavil.  Nevertheless, I often don pagan trappings if only because I recognize that seasons are important to people, and I like to mark their passage.  Agriculture has had its way with society for a long time, and only in the last century has the most technologically-sequestered fraction of humanity been freed from its seasonal cadence.  So of course now we fetishize the seasons and give them more weight than our great-grandparents did.

I particularly enjoy the frenzy that slowly builds starting with the equinoxes and then abruptly stops upon reaching the solstices.  If sowing and reaping have been humanity’s eternal toil, the solstices—winter in particular—have been our blessed moments of repose.

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