November 5, 2020

The Antidote

It’s nice to be back after a short break in programming, and I bring hope because we seriously need it.

There is a word for the particular type of melancholy 2020 has brought so many of us. According to an article in The Conversation, the lost word of ‘Acedia’ describes 2020 better than any other modern word I’ve found – it’s a combination of “bored, listless, afraid and uncertain”.

Couldn’t have said it better myself, and while there have definitely been highlights of 2020, acedia has been the overall vibe.

I was in a retail environment this week and the Christmas decorations hit me like a peppermint to the spine. Normally, coming from a state of acedia, a retail Christmas might plunge one further into a hole of pity, but this time, it did not.

Nope, I got lost lapping up the fruitcakes tied in plain ribbon, the rosy cheeks of a commercialised St. Nick oh biscuit tins, and I fell in love with the Australiana trend for Christmas decorations this year.

After putting too many things I don’t need into my shopping basket, I bounded up to the cashier to purchase my joy. Yep, I was intentionally and consciously purchasing joy – and it was worth every cent.

Without shame, I am looking forward to the holiday season this year with an extraordinary amount of childlike hope and wonder. The spirit of Christmas represents everything that 2020 has not yielded, and regardless of your religious denomination, the holidays offer an antidote for what ails us – or maybe just what ails me.

It offers togetherness as an antidote to isolation.

It offers giving gifts, however meek or homemade, as an antidote to giving up.

It offers indulgence after so much austerity.

It offers hope. For some people that hope is in the traditional story of the birth of a saviour, Jesus. For some of us, it is a more abstract hope that Michael Buble and Mariah Carey will rise up from the sea on Christmas Eve and deliver us from the cloud of Covid-19. I guess they are both hopes of salvation.

And even if Christmas comes and goes, and Michael and Mariah fail to deliver us as I imagine, then it’s been worth it to believe.

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