I must make a confession, which
I know will shock and startle most of you good readers.
I have been known, on occasion, to behave foolishly.
Yes, yes, I know, it seems
difficult to believe but it's true. Halloween, for example,
brings out the child in me gazing in wonder and delight
at every little bat and skeleton adorning the neighborhood, humming
spooky little tunes and in general behaving as if I'm a young
boy again, dreaming of the hordes of treats in store...
Ah, but Christmas Time
the child in me seems to take over no, it's worse than
that I was never so silly when I was actually young! No,
it's a Solstice Stew made up of equal parts infancy and senility,
both of which by rights should be relatively distant at this
time, with heady doses of jollity, frivolity, and heedless, uncaring,
brazen, deliberate Holiday Lunacy tossed in. I break into carols
without warning, I jump up and down in delight at the least manifestation
of this wondrous Season, I take to the punchbowl and the music
books with a vigor that elicits great consternation among my
I become exactly the sort of
person that my younger self would have shied away from while
proclaiming "I don't KNOW that guy!"
I blame the Romans, of course.
I have long simply accepted that the frivolity that accompanies
Christmas was in part a result of its supplanting the ancient
Roman festival of Saturnalia, with its Lord of Misrule and general
anarchic goings-on. I have always assumed that, unlike other
Holiday Switches (such as All Saint's Day supplanting Halloween)
which seemed to have an inherent logic to them, it was simply
a happy accident that Christmas was able to inherit the spirit
of merry making from its Pagan Predecessor.
Now, I think there may be more
to it than that.
I think of the concept of the
Lord of Misrule the Saturnalian tradition that the mightiest
and weightiest of people during these festivities would cast
off their usual mortal masks and become almost child-like with
mirth, while the lowest and most destitute would be exalted,
and raised up, if only for the season, with the "Lord of
Misrule" chosen from among the poorest of the poor.
It is no stretch of the imagination to imagine the applicability
of such a tradition to the vision of Ebeneezer Scrooge reborn
as "giddy as a schoolboy", or poor Tiny Tim raised
up, literally and figuratively, out of poverty and presumably
an early grave as a result of the preceding transformation.
Or even to envision, say, an
infant born to a poor carpenter in a stable, in a remote piece
of the mighty Empire of the aforementioned Romans, exalted to
the highest conceivable position of them all...
And so, to all of you, a Happy
Holiday Season, and may you all be filled with the most inspired