“And must it leave when you have gone away?”

3000

By Andie Alexander
Andie Alexander earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and History in 2012. She is now pursuing her Ph.D. in American Religious Cultures at Emory University. Andie also works as the online Curator for the Culture on the Edge blog.

As I’m sitting here working and prepping for finals season, I have my Christmas music playlist on in the background. Eventually Trans-Siberian Orchestra‘s “This Christmas Day” started playing. Have a listen (if you aren’t familiar with TSO, I highly recommend them!):

As I was listening to this song these lines in particular caught my attention:

So tell me Christmas
Are we kind
More this day than any other day
Or is it only in our mind
And must it leave when you have gone away

Not unlike many holiday tunes, this song, while appreciating the generous spirit and cheer that we have come to associate with the holiday season, also briefly laments the fact that once the holiday season passes everything returns to “normal.” While there are certainly exceptions, many holiday songs celebrate the “holiday spirit” as distinct from daily behavior and actions.

Now, who’s to say whether these songs are accurate? Are we nicer around the holidays? Maybe.

But “must it leave”?

Yes.

That is to say, that this distinction — one of many, e.g., specific holiday decorations that go up and then get taken down, meals prepared on certain days, gatherings we eventually leave, religious rituals that start and end, etc. — marks the day as different, as a holiday. Without this difference, the day would be yet another day. By establishing difference — however one may choose to do so — any old late December day or week is marked as a holiday, or a specific period of time that is set apart as distinct and special.

Set apart not just by ornaments but also by our behaving differently on that day, during the so-called Christmas season.

So enjoy the extra cup of kindness and holiday cheer, coz January 2nd is just another day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *