by C. A. Matthews
With the number of holiday seasons I've experienced, you'd think by now I'd have figured a few things out. But I'm a slow learner, and some lessons in life need repeating until they're finally stuck in your head.
The holidays are not about giving presents.
The holidays are about receiving a gift.
There is a difference.
Commercialism/capitalism tells us that the holidays (whichever ones you celebrate, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, etc.) are all about buy, buy, buy! Supposedly the only way to profess your love for others is by purchasing lots of material things for them. And the more you buy, the greater your love is, or so says Wall Street and Madison Avenue.
It's an endless guilt-o-rama. Once you've climbed into that hamster wheel of consumerism, it's a difficult ride to come off of. Fortunately, some of us get thrown off the wheel--by losing our jobs, our incomes, our homes, our health, and/or our loved ones--and then we realize just how dizzying and soul-destroying that materialistic take on the holidays truly was and is. We begin to appreciate the things that last, and the pursuit of stuff is not one of them.
So, this holiday season I want to encourage you to celebrate subversively. Don't buy into anything the capitalists tell you to. Do the opposite. Give as much of your stuff away as you feel comfortable giving to others who are without and then give a little bit more. I promise it's not as bad as it sounds. Getting past your hoarding instincts can take some effort, but once you open your heart to the concept of gifting material possessions away to others, the more open you'll be to receiving the love and peace that is what the season is supposed to be about in the first place.
No, it's not a contest, and you won't "win" anything by doing so, except possibly the very necessary peace of mind gained from not equating the capitalist concept of accumulating wealth as the end-all and be-all of life. You will "win" by simply being able to enjoy the season without the burden of trying to outdo your neighbors in the crass commercialism and orgy of endless trips to the shopping mall.
Remember, by staying out of big public spaces you'll be less likely to catch or spread the coronavirus. And who knows? You might find yourself being gifted by others of a like mind. Thank them profusely and receive their gift in the generosity of spirit that it was given to you.
This year in particular, we all really do need to hear again the message of "Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All People."
In no culture's traditions does it say that peace and goodwill only come about by purchasing numerous consumer items that nobody really wants, needs, or can use when they're stuck on a ventilator gasping for oxygen. Nowhere does it say that destroying the planet we share and denying health care to others on the basis of an evil economic system will bring about peace and goodwill. Just the opposite.
So, relax and skip the gifts and open your heart instead. It's all hands on deck in 2021 to straighten this mess up, so let's help each other stay healthy, sane, fed and warm so we're all up for the task.
Have yourself a merry little Subversive Celebration this holiday season and a Healthy New Year.
Related articles to enlighten your season:
Jesus Was A Victim Of Empire
Dr. Cornel West interview where he talks about how Jesus stood up to the establishment (and how we should, too). "It's never the wrong time to do the right thing."
Concrete Liberation Narratives
Ads All Tell Us To Kill Our Future (Ethical Consumerism?)
Don't Get Your Mouth Washed Out With Soap!
Speak Out, Act Up, and
Support The Revolution Continues!
Send donations to http://paypal.me/camatthews
From Faithful America:
On January 20, Donald Trump will leave the White House, and we thank God for that -- but our work as social-justice Christians is far from over.
We must remember that Trump was a symptom, not the actual disease. Yes, he lost, but with a whopping 74 million votes. The forces of white supremacy, Christian nationalism, and the religious right are still as strong as ever.
The past week tells the story. On Saturday, Catholic Archbishop Carlo Viganò and Bishop Joseph Strickland spoke to a right-wing rally in D.C., spreading QAnon theories in a desperate, ill-fated, final effort to undermine democracy and steal the election.
After the rally, the racist Proud Boys tore down and burned Black Lives Matter signs at two local Black churches. Yet instead of speaking out for the "religious freedom" of these churches like he does for anti-LGBTQ businesses, Franklin Graham wrote yet another lengthy Facebook post in praise of Donald Trump.
Make no mistake: The leaders of the religious right are enabling white supremacy, just as they are trying to enable Trump's failed attempted coup. But together, we social-justice Christians can do something about it.
Where there is darkness, there is also light. Despite all of the religious right's lies and Republican attempts to stop people from casting their ballots, voters -- including social-justice Christians -- turned out in record numbers and sent Trump packing.
COVID-19 vaccines are finally becoming slowly available, with most faith leaders encouraging people to get one.
And just this week, Faithful America helped organize 45 organizations and 12,000 people of faith to loudly condemn racist attacks on the Black church in the Georgia Senate runoffs.
From stopping Trump's hateful nominees in the Senate to supporting asylum seekers and taking dangerous COVID-19 misinformation off the air, 2020 has been a year of big victories for this movement. We should never underestimate what we can accomplish when we stand together -- nor should we let our successes lull us into complacency, or the religious right will erase everything we have gained.
Thank you for everything you have done and will keep doing to love your neighbor and reclaim your faith from the right wing!
Rev. Nathan and the Faithful America team
"When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous, but dismay to evildoers." - Proverbs 21:15
From the GPUS:
After months of devastating delays, Congress' paltry new COVID relief package is a slap in the face of suffering Americans.
A $600 check won't get many families through the month, much less the winter.
Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats are shying away from promoting Medicare-For-All.
We. Will. Not. Stand. For. This.
- We demand bold, decisive COVID relief to kick off the desperately-needed Green New Deal
- We demand bold support for Medicare-For-All, including floor votes, without delay. #ForceTheVote!
- Stop spending money on tax cuts and subsidies for billionaires and corporations, stop dumping money into our bloated war machine. Invest in the health, safety and future of our communities!
Then make sure you share the action page so Congress can't ignore these demands!
|TAKE ACTION NOW
Like most Greens, you probably never had high hopes for what the Democrats would do with a Biden Presidency, but even we are taken aback by just how quickly they are trying to smack down any hope that their control of the House of Representatives and the White House might lead to some real relief from the ravages of capitalism.
That makes it even more important for the Green Party to reach the year-end goal of 100 new Monthly Sustainers. This pandemic has exposed our country's brutal inequality on a scale we haven't seen in a long time and the parties of War and Wall Street are carrying on with business as usual. And their "business" is selling you out.
Monthly contributions from people just like you are the most powerful grassroots fundraising tool we have, since our political independence requires financial independence from corporate lobbyists and PACs.
If signing up for monthly contributions doesn't work for you right now, making a one-time contribution today will still go a long way toward fueling our grassroots campaigns for real COVID relief, a Green New Deal and an end to militarism and oppression in all its forms.
Green Party of the United States
Green Party of the United States