Yesterday I learned (again) that wearing a Santa jumper requires me to modify my behaviour.
We were delivering Christmas Calories to specific clients. The back-office accounts peeps. The ones who work tirelessly every day of the year but never get a freebie.
As they see and hear the “resource purchasing” departments being feted and dined at the supplier’s expense.
So – as a back-office chappy myself – we pick a few hard-working clients and deliver a chocolate hamper to their accounts department each year. It goes down well!
Central London during shopping hours – this close to Christmas – is hard work!
Shoppers and tourists – with no real idea where they are going – all carrying bags and packages – all with this weird “stop and stand” (without warning) affliction – all resenting the fast-moving workers – all resented by the fast-moving workers.
It is survival of the wiliest, the nimblest, the focused and the determined.
Which are NOT the attributes of a friendly Father Christmas – nor the friendly Father Christmas jumper I was wearing. It’s letting Father Christmas down. It’s trashing the concept of “Ho Ho Ho”. It’s nowhere near to “Goodwill to all (wo)men.” But, dammit, I had things to do, people to see, and places to go – and all against the clock.
So I took off the jumper.
And now I could be as wily and nimble as the best of them! Now I could squeeze ahead, barge through, swerve and dodge as all practiced commuters do. All whilst muttering under my breath at the slow-moving herds of pedestrians around me.
And, stopping only to don my Father Christmas uniform before arriving at a client’s front-door – we delivered our Christmas Goodwill on schedule and on time. Full of bonhomie and Christmas spirit!
The standing-joke in church every Christmas time. All the extra work, the extra pressure, the extra rushing around. All self-imposed – as we learn once we are each old enough for the truth.
The nativity scene is not real … the timings are not real … the date is not real … BUT the pregnancy and conception by God is real … the baby Jesus is real … Mother Mary (and Joseph) are real … The REASON for all this celebration IS real – just NOT the nativity scene or timings or date. Which is a bit odd when you say it like that. Which is maybe why some brands of Christian go all Humbug. Refuse to join in. Call it all a Pagan throwback.
BUT perhaps we all wear a uniform at times. All modify our behaviour at times. All smile through gritted teeth at times. All ignore the facts in favour of the fiction at times. Which results in many believers “poo-pooing” the unbelievers “fiction” that buying more than they can afford is what Christmas all about. Which results in dismissing those who “Humbug Christmas” in favour of a secular “Holiday Season” label and remove Christ from “mas” completely. Which results in dismissing so much is so many all because “they” do it differently to “us”. Like retailers who demand ever greater flexibility and hours …
We did a pit-stop at Starbucks yesterday – it’s easy to talk of Christmas when dressed in a Santa jumper. The Starbucks we were in will be open on Christmas Day. “Bah Humbug – poor you.” I empathised. “Not at all” I was told with a huge grin! “Triple-hourly-rate! It’s a very Merry Christmas for me!”. he said.
Yesterday I learned that wearing any uniform modifies my behaviour. Wearing a mask – as some call it. Pretending – as others dismiss it. Being hypocritical – as cynics judge.
Yesterday I learned that I LIKE wearing a uniform sometimes.
Or else I would have missed realising what a self-centred s.o.b. I can be (without even trying AND without even realising)!
And I think that is the difference between “love-not” (of the conditional) and “Love” (of the unconditional being).
The real fact being that I am capable of both and that it’s my choice which I am.
Because – perhaps – that is the very simple and profound truth of Christmas.