Meanwhile in the Emerald City, the Holiday Season feels fresh once again.
Though this could be the same picture as what will happen during the following weeks. To the left is part of a very tall Christmas tree, which was present last year in this very spot, and probably the next. If not for some particular buildings in the backdrop, this deco could be easily mistaken for nearly any developed big city.
What makes the holiday season special is not the deco, but the people what they make of it. Not everyone may find the holiday symbolization as welcome. For example, the night before the above picture was Black Friday, a day infamous for shopping madness frenzy on “doorbuster’ deals; and also for tree lighting ceremonies and opening festivities. It was (and I think becoming) a day for civil unrest and social justice here in Seattle at least, as a massive Black Lives Matters protest developed in the midst of a crowded Westlake Center area. This was similar to last year’s Friday after Thanksgiving. There are many points of view on whether that was a good or bad outside additive to the holiday festivities, but such a happening brought this particular place and setting a somewhat distinct feel to it all.
Here was that tree in the background on that evening..
The crowd was quite massive, with a mix of emotions on the invasive presence of the Black Lives Matters protesters with chants and signs calling for an end to police brutality, racial discrimination, and social injustice. Walking through the crowd I heard approving and disapproving voices (with dashes of racism as well). For me, my claustrophobia was developing, and thought my place was away from all this. Also, I was very hungry..
Sadly, I missed out on the fireworks and big Christmas tree-lighting that happened shortly after. Meanwhile, I felt reminded of recent words from Pope Francis in a recent speech to some Catholic churchgoers: “We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war….It’s all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war”
And that brought me to thinking while I heard the fireworks boom in the distance, that perhaps the Holiday season does need some change. Should some consideration of what is not right in the world, have a damper on holiday festivities, or should we take time out ponder this incompleteness of our Holiday season?
I felt the reason for the BLM protest; a large group of people felt a disconnect with a dominant status quo on the long-running issues of racism and police brutality in the US, and perhaps that was reason enough to interrupt the joys of tree lighting and musical entertainment. Is it reason enough to interrupt the planned joys to the bigger crowd? That’s for the public to decide, if any change will gain support, or result in resistance. But either way, I felt what the Pope said to where we can’t quite celebrate the spirit of Christmas without considering the larger pictures outside our comfort zones (though he was referring more to the escalating war conflicts). War, injustice, starvation, and other signs of inhumanity..still out there.
So, I will be thinking of some good deeds I can do, perhaps giving and donating to the homeless and less fortunate (an issue I feel this city of Seattle needs to address more). I will read more on what else troubles humanity this Season, and consider what I can do to make a holiday season festive for those who truly need it more.
Meanwhile, we can’t all be magically happy with doorbuster deals and seasonal lights as we start the Holiday Season. I will continue to appreciate any wonderful displays of Christmas decoration, because otherwise the month is too cold. Perhaps, we people should collectively take more time to understand and show some compassion to the distraught toward the time of Christmas Day, even if their messages are not convenient to our liking. That extra warmth and additive in our traditions could go a long way, and make the next Christmas Seasons even more festive.
– Orion T