Halfway Out of the Dark

I know it’s a few days past Christmas at this point (thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster), but the holiday is still on my mind, especially given the lack of excitement it gave me this year.

I, like a lot of people I know, seemed to be burned out on Christmas this year. Whether that’s because of stress, over-commercialization, or general disillusionment, the holiday came and went with a resounding “meh.” My girlfriend and I didn’t even bother setting up any decorations, let alone a tree. For all intents and purposes, Christmas seemed like just one more day, but with the added stress of giving (and receiving) presents.

In fact, my only source of anything resembling holiday cheer was, somewhat embarrassingly, Doctor Who. I’ve been working my way through the new series, and once I made it up to the Christmas special “A Christmas Carol,” something resonated with me.

This time of year isn’t about giving and receiving gifts. It’s not about rampant commercialism. It’s not even about a dominant world religion’s origin myth. It’s about celebrating the passage of time, as the depths of winter begin to recede in favor of the renewal of spring. At it’s heart, it’s about being halfway out of the dark.

I don’t have much to say, I just wanted to note how that one simple line from a British science fiction television show managed to put things into perspective for me. It’s a bittersweet realization, but is also somehow fitting. Time marches on, and the only meaning it has is that which we assign to it. If we can’t find joy in basic natural phenomena, then we might as well be inanimate objects. Making it through another year on this planet can be a cause for celebration, to remember to appreciate that which has made the trip with us, and that which has gotten left behind.

Halfway out of the dark: it’s all up from here.