Culture & Conversation

Posts tagged ‘Occupy Christmas’

Compassion is the New Currency

For those who missed out on a Christian education, or have forgotten the words, the carol Away in A Manger tells the story of the birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem. Like the Occupiers today, Jesus and his parents were part of the 99%. They were poor citizens of an indifferent Empire. Ordered by government decree to leave their home in Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem, Joseph and a pregnant Mary were made homeless because Rome was preparing a census for taxation purposes. Some things don’t change. The man whose message of peace and love would inspire billions over the centuries, was himself poor and homeless when he entered this world.

Accumulation of the Useless

Occupy Christmas: International Day of Action has been a welcome initiative for many of us. The holiday season is a hectic, stressful time for working families who end up spending well beyond their means on gifts, meals and entertainment. This spending spree now extends beyond the holiday season and into the New Year, as lining up outside big box stores for big ticket items has become a popular new tradition in the past decade. The real winners in all this are the corporations, credit card companies and banks. Otherwise known as 1%.

Protestant? Sure

All of my immediate family members were born in Montreal, but because we were raised as Jews, our observance of Christmas consisted largely of getting into the family car on a fine evening in late December and driving around certain neighbourhoods to admire the extravagant displays of ornamental lighting that some householders had taken the trouble to put on show. This was not the whole story of Christmas, of course, and school filled in some of the gaps in my knowledge.

Tout le monde en fête

A Québec employer summons two employees from different cultural backgrounds, and apologises for a Christmas card that was sent around the Office — which he is sure has offended both of them.

Little Brother, Remember the Christmas?

Remember the Christmas when you got into Mom’s purse? They caught you in the closet, lipsticks and keys and coins and tissues on the floor, encircling you like a wreath. You were building a little pyramid of pills, your fingers chalky with pink dust.

1% Shopping, 99% Love

Occupy Christmas. I could come up with a whole slew of definitions for how these two words fit together. For example, how we shouldn’t be so fixated on consumerism, how we’re digging ourselves even deeper holes with holiday debt, and so on. But, I choose to see this all a little differently.

The Wild Hunt

In life we have to live with contradictions. F. Scott Fitzgerald said in The Crack Up that, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” Christmas raises the most fundamental and visceral contradictions in me; it’s wonderfully loving and hedonistic but also nauseatingly cheap and shallow.

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Twelve days of Occupy

A little over a year ago, a 26 year old street seller in Tunisia set himself on fire. The breadwinner for a family of six siblings, Mohammed Bouazizi worked so his sisters could go to university. Harassed daily by police and the municipality, on December 17th he had reached his limit. With his produce and scales confiscated yet again, he stood outside the governor’s office shouting, “how do you expect me to make a living?” Then he doused himself with gasoline and lit a match.