Existential message of Christmas
My view on the Christmas, as a Marxist-Leninist, is being open-minded towards people having different spiritual values. I believe that spiritual values regarding Christmas is a private matter.
I think that the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church have a lot in common in terms of celebrating Christmas. And the reason I think or fell this way is that there is an urgency among both churches to try to get as close as they can to the masses regardless of where they are in the world. And they have to be given credibility for that, in the sense that “the opium”, that is any religion that any people choose to embrace has to do with their particular culture, their particular human suffering and anxiety in the world we live in.
Also, I think that after 1945 when Stalin allowed Christmas to come back to Russia in a form that was related to New Year was healthy. To this day, it has played a role in celebrating Christmas in modern Russia.
In America we are a nation state of commerce, not of culture. Our culture when we celebrate Christmas is more of a festival holiday on a commercial level.
The Russian holiday of season of Christmas is probably more complex than in America. If we look back in history at the Soviet Union, we see that the Christmas celebration was more of an underground event, if the faith went against the Soviet way of life. However, those methods of religious celebrations were also of a dissident signal as well, and therefore more sincere in their own way, whether we as Marxist thinkers or communists agree with those people or not.
For me, as an atheist, Christmas has a value that's found in a spiritual ramifications of the human condition.
When I thing of Christmas I think of all the relativeness of Christmas. You can be in Aleppo in a basement with nothing but some pieces of bread and water or maybe, or perhaps, if you are fortunate, you can be given a box of food goods from the Russian army, and that's a Christmas in itself. You can be wounded in Afghanistan as an American soldier and survive and be happy that you are still alive, and that is your Christmas.
How should we celebrate Christmas? To celebrate Christmas is accept the harsh realities of life, as well as those moments of happiness even in the mostsimplest forms. I remember, when I was single and in the army, if I had a book and pot of coffee in my small apartment, if I was able to run in a snow blizzard at Fort Carson and feel the cold wind in my face on Christmas Eve, I was happy. Isolation most of my life under severe psychological and some physical conditions, even during such periods as the Christmas Season, as taught me discipline and steeled me to adversity.
How do we give meaning to existence, and this is where I am close to Sartre, it is that you have to give value to your private, spiritual life, to your actions within the human conditions. Your words have no meaning if you do not take actions on your existence. That's always the existential crisis in living, giving meaning to an existence that has no meaning except for what we give to it. History, even with events like Christmas have no meaning in and of themselves, unless humanity gives history and the holidays like Christmas a meaning through community, through struggle against oppression, against death. Day in and day out, whether if it's in a relationship, in a marriage, in a love affair, or in a friendship, you must define those relationships by total commitment. - How do you get that meaning? Through perseverance in action, otherwise life has no value. Because existence, from my perspective, is in a room of nothingness. There is thebiological fact of existence, and no scientist in human history has been ever able to figure out how existence began and how it will end.
So, in this immediacy between you and I on this Christmas holiday we can only relate to Christmas in one sense like directly communicating with each other, Anastasia, and the aspirations that we have about Christmas. In this way there is meaning of Christmas season. It doesn't mean one has to exchange gifts, it doesn't mean that one has to go to the mass. Personally speaking if I go to Midnight Mass it is to hear the beauty of Christmas Carols, particularly French carols. Therefore, for me as an intellectual I observe Christmas with a feeling of a reconciliation with my friends, and understanding my enemies even during the Christmas Holiday Season as well, in other words, a comprehension of the struggle in life and the, death, because at my age I could die at any time, although I am aware that a young person can also die at anytime, as fate for each human born is unpredictable. I ask myself: where I am going and why am I here?
For me, the victory of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies which included the Russian armed forces is my Christmas present and it's the only present I want. Why? Because I want the Syrian people to again have their dignity, to live a way of life that is in accordance with the historical values of their culture and the history of Syria. For me, that's my Christmas, I need nothing else. I am free.