Hunger is the best condiment ...

A bit more from the Advent essay I referenced in my last post ...

Author and Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren writes:

American culture insists that we run at breathless pace from sugar-laced celebration to celebration -- three months of Christmas to the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, Valentine's Day, Cinco de Mayo, Fourth of July, and on and on. We suffer from a collective consumerist mania that demands we remain optimistic, shiny, happy and having fun, fun, fun.

But life isn't a Disney Cruise.

The tyranny of relentless mandatory celebration leaves us exhausted and often, ironically, feeling emptier. Many of us suffer 'holiday blues,' and I wonder whether this phenomenon is made worse by the incessant demand for cheer -- the collective lie that through enough work and positivity, we can perfect our lives and our world.

We need communal rhythms that make deliberate space for both grief and joy. For me, the old saying rings true: Hunger is the best condiment. Abstaining, for a moment, from the clamor of compulsive jollification, and instead leaning into the reality of human tragedy and of my own need and brokenness, allows my experience of glory at Christmastime to feel not only more emotionally sustainable but also more vivid, vital and cherished.

I love the phrase "tyranny of relentless mandatory celebration." I feel the weariness of that in my own life after too many big events, too many overflowing platters of rich food, too much loud, clangy music. Too many rounds of The Carol of the Bells, if you know what I mean.

What if we used the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas to eke out a small bit of space to reflect?

To reflect on our own internal darkness and need ...

To reflect on the world around us and to work to see it as it really is - achingly beautiful and heartbreakingly broken ...

To reflect on the desperate need of humanity for Someone larger than ourselves to rescue us, to redeem us, to restore this whirling planet to its original intent ...

To reflect on our collective need for a Savior ...

If we can do this - find time to reflect - perhaps the Christmas story of a baby born in a stable on a cold winter's night might strike us as the exact kind of miracle we all need.

Tags: Living Truthfully, Celebration