Where Is Peace This Year?

Yes, where is it? Am I just not seeing, not feeling it, or looking past it? Perhaps I’ve finally grown jaded and humbugish. It might be that I see the gaily-decorated stores not as Christmas Spirit-producing, but rather as greedy acts of sucking us in and getting their hand into our bank accounts. Hell, that might be the way it’s always been and I simply didn’t see it that way… until now. But I don’t think that’s it, really.

It seems to me there used to be more sincerity in people’s attempts at Christmas decorating. Sure, it could be that I relate to the old decorating styles and simply don’t cotton to the more modern, electric and shiny new interpretations of Christmas these days.

But there’s more to it than that. For instance, in our holiday shopping this year, we’ve found less joy in the eyes of others, less all-around positivity in the folks “out there.” And it makes us wonder… with all the negativity afloat on our political scene, with the drastic and dangerous split we are experiencing… the polarization of our country into two aggressive and hostile tribes, have we become less sensitive to peace, love and their importance, and have instead become more aware of, and hostile to, our differences, leaving little to no room for empathy, compassion, and love?

Well, that’s what it feels like to me this season. I wonder about what’s happening to us, especially if any of what I’m thinking about is true… not only what’s happening to us, but perhaps to many around the world. Have we maybe somehow slid into a negative orbit around the sun and it is affecting humanity on earth?


“Now wait just a damn minute, Hulse. Now you’ve gone too far. That last part is a load of crap.”

“Yeah? Is it really? Haven’t you felt some of this yourself this Christmas season? Haven’t you?”

“Oh, probably. Especially when I watch the news. That does it almost every time. But a negative orbit?? Come on…”

“I know, I know, that’s a stretch. And we’ve always been a warring species, right from the beginning. But I can’t help thinking there’s something else afoot here, an element or elements that are spinning us negatively, that are silently shooting a major hole in our peace on earth and good will toward each other.”

“You’re just over-thinking it, per usual. Sure, things are moving much faster and technology is changing us, changing our world, but I don’t think that means we’re losing our Christmas Spirit, our regard for our fellow man.”

“Yes it does.”


Well, in truth I’m not sure if either person is right about all this. What I do know is that there didn’t used to be plastic Christmas trees. We used to hang a few jolly lights outside our homes rather than projecting.a big video display across the front of the whole house. So is that me just being old-fashioned? Yeah, I guess it is. But all of us “old ones” are old enough to have experienced Christmases both then and now, and I can tell you that most of us can tell the difference. And we don’t like it.

Maybe it’s always been that way, old people disliking the “new world” and defending the old ways, the ways they grew up with and know. Maybe. But when long-held traditions change and people begin arguing over whether to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” I’m sorry, but that’s different and at the very least contrary to the holiday spirit that we once knew.

“So Mr. Question Everything, Mr. Find Fault With Everything, you say there’s no peace to be found this holiday season?”

“Oh hell no, I’m not saying that at all. We have the same old-fashioned peace and goodwill here in our own little cottage! It’s quiet, peaceful inside with old and simple traditions still alive and well. The smell of cookies baking in the kitchen, old Christmas songs playing softly in the background, a fire in the hearth, Christmas tree in the corner of the living room, a few presents under the tree.”

“And you think you have a corner on the Christmas Spirit market because of your selfish interpretation of it??”

“God no! Sure, we do Christmas decorating the way we’ve always done it. The thing is, we feel the difference from being outside in the larger world with being back in our own little home. And it’s dramatic, I can tell you. I’m not a Christian,, so I don’t think that the Christmas Spirit resides in the manger scene in the front yard… nothing like that. It’s just that, well, I don’t know. I guess it’s the way we are starting to treat each other… so matter-of-fact, so easily argumentative, with little understanding, with little to no sincere feeling for each other. And I know many of us used to have that, recognized it, depended on it. It’s not that way out there any more.”

“Ah, you’re just old. Face it. You don’t get the new ways. Sure it’s faster, but it’s better!”

One way to explain my point is this – my Betty was shopping the other day, and as she was checking out, she asked the check-out lady for something in the store. “No,” she replied with a smile, you’ll have to go over to the mainland for that.”

Betty smiled back. “Oh, I don’t go over there unless I absolutely have to.”

“I know,” the check-out lady replied. “My husband and I call it “the new America.”

And there it is. Call me a Grinch, call me a Scrooge, I don’t care. It is the new America, and I don’t like it. I want my Old America back, and by god, that’s exactly what I’m going to ask Santa for!

Steve Hulse

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