December 21st, 2014

Christmas

Hypocrisy and a hard heart comes easy in this season. For decades, the North Korean government has behaved like malicious frat boys with nuclear weapons. They treat their people like draft animals and can’t figure out how to grow enough food to avoid famine, something that, prior to them, has been done on the Korean peninsula for centuries. No Christmas presents for you! I still sympathize a little with them for being upset at a movie that shows their sitting leader’s head exploding, but their response was juvenile. Someday, their silly attempts at bullying could get them exterminated.

This is a nice build up to Christmas, the time of forgiveness, peace, and good cheer. I would like to send Santa Claus to North Korea. The kind of gifts that Santa delivered in nineteenth and early twentieth century in the west would serve well: simple toys, warm clothing, extra food for the bleak months to come. These are the things everyone should have at Christmas.

North Korea is not the only place that needs a good Christmas. The Ebola countries, the places where school children are killed in the name of holiness or principle. Everywhere that people hunger and suffer. Wishing many of them happy holidays is a cruel joke because, given the world, there will no happy holiday, any happy holiday, not just Christmas, New Years, Chanukah, Kwanza, for them for a long time.

Nevertheless, this is the season, and we must try. I will say “Merry Christmas” because that is my tradition. I won’t try to utter the greetings of the other traditions because I would be saying words that can only be understood fully when stamped on the heart, although I know that the feeling behind all the other greetings is the same heartfelt good wish that I somberly deliver now.

Merry Christmas to all the world, may your belly be full, your bed warm; may you be wrapped in the love of your family and community, and filled with joy.

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