DECEMBER 23: A festival for the rest of us!
Though most Westerners first heard of this “non“ holiday on an episode Seinfeld in 1997, it’s origins are a little older. Author Daniel O’Keefe invented the celebration as a response to the habitual pressures and commercialism of the holiday season. (fun fact: Daniel’s son, Dan O’Keefe co-write the Seinfeld episode that brought his Dad’s idea to the mainstream...which might’ve betrayed the original intent, but so be it.)
Festivus festivities can include—though, most certainly, no tradition need be strictly included—the customary “Airing of Grievances“ around a Festivus dinner, maybe in view of an unadorned, aluminum Festivus pole.
This is parody. It is a protest to the holiday habits that, for many, have gone wild.
We can all enjoy merriment to a point, but most of us have experienced the stomach-aches of excess. Happiness, squared, twice-baked, then back to work exhausted, dizzy and maybe a few pounds heavier.
Want more this year. Introduce habits into your life that not only protest excess, but tell your soul that God’s “with“ness is the real joy of the season.
Like the shepherds who got to be "with" Jesus and his family:
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.*
Like the spiritual dignitaries ("wise men") who got to be "with" the family:
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.**
It’s not an accident that Jesus‘ birth gathered such an eclectic crowd. It became a logical reason for strangers to share life. God was with us and we are with each other. Joy.
Build joy in your world, by being present with people today. Whether you’re finishing up last minute holiday plans and shopping, scrambling to wrap up projects at work, travelling to see loved ones and not-very-liked ones, or just putting up a Festivus pole, let the persons God has placed in your life mark this occasion. Look us in the eyes. Ask us questions. Give us specific encouragement. Laugh leniently at the stories and jokes we’ve already told you a hundred times. Eat our casseroles and lie about how much you enjoy them. Take pictures with us. Give us a hug. Stay a little too long.
Our greatest joy comes from being with Who we need most. This Who has also peppered our lives with subtle joys in the presence of each other.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
“JoyGiver, no matter what, let me give and receive joy this year by giving and receiving presence. Give me the energy, the stamina, the curiosity, the courage to lap up your Image in the form of my fellow humanity.”
*Luke’s biography of Jesus, chapter 2, verse 16
**Matthew's biography of Jesus, chapter 2, verse 11