Nothing could be less celebratory than having to celebrate. Imagine someone holding a gun to your head: “Sing Christmas carols! And sing like you mean it!” Where does celebration come from? What does it mean? I’m inclined to think that any word connected to “celebrity” has to be suspect.
The dictionary, source of so much wisdom, tells me something unexpected: “to perform with appropriate rites and ceremonies; solemnize, observe, commemorate, sound the praises of, make known publicly.” No wonder we can feel it’s a heavy burden. Appropriate rites: like holiday cards, Christmas trees, and end-of-year letters. I’m happy to observe and commemorate, but solemnize?
In the mall culture, Christmas is light as a snowflake, but some part of it is heavy, as heavy as labor, a forced journey while you’re nine months pregnant, on a donkey yet. And what’s the journey for? To pay taxes. Then the hotels are all full. Joseph must have cursed a blue streak and Mary felt the floor drop out, facing her first labor far from home, from a midwife, from her mother.