December has become the present. Just as November is the early present. The day after Halloween, stores change from orange and black to red and green, from the scary and gloomy to the bright and festive. Drivers become shoppers and shoppers forget parking skills. Good people become bad tempered louts. The spirit of Christmas is a dispiriting visit to the malls.
Some of that changes on Christmas morning when the gifts are opened. Some are disappointed, some surprised, some delighted. And when on Boxing Day all the boxes and wrapping is finally cleared up we realize that December was all about the Present.
January is a new beginning, new resolves, new socks, new pyjamas, possibly a new toy or two. January is about casting off, starting anew, breaking the mould, baking new schemes, plotting new plans, spreading the net, focusing narrowly, setting goals. By the end of January, if you live in the Great White North, your back is sore from shoveling snow, the knuckles tired from icy drives, the tongue well versed in vernacular vocabulary at the sight of stupid drivers, the ankles annoyed by the constant chafe of high boots and the hands have had enough of useless gloves. At this point your thoughts turn to a Caribbean vacation, at an all-inclusive resort. The new plans, the grand schemes, the great resolves, the fresh goals dissipate into the pattern of past performance. The daily news brings us the same old horrors, the stories of greed, corruption, human frailty and cruelty.
You’re probably wondering why the doom and gloom in this season of festivities and celebration. The fact is, dear reader, the portrait painted is but the plain truth, we can all recognize it, the recurring behavior, the familiar patterns. Yet, we must see the truth as it is if we are to remain strong and rational, if we are not to lose all hope and fall into despair. From Hope springs Life, Charity is wedded to Love but what of Faith? Faith, I’m afraid, has failed us. She has driven us apart, brought about anger, fear and cruelty. Faith has become the Handmaiden of Religion rather than the Daughter of Trust, the Harbinger of Hate not the Herald of Humanity. Yet, as January comes upon us once again, I implore you, think, cogitate, consider, contemplate, cerebrate, meditate, reason, reflect and ruminate. Free Faith from the narrow confines of clergy. We cannot continue to perform unspeakable acts of cruelty and greed in her name. We cannot continue to hide behind her skirts and expect pardons for our sins; for they are our sins not Faith’s.
It is the season for reflection, for introspection, for good wishes, for Hope, for Charity and most of all for Faith. The Slo-Man wishes you all success, peace and joy for always. He would like you to forgive his sermon but not forget the lesson it seeks to deliver.