Recycled holiday advice

This is another installment in my free but increasingly dangerous advice service. Today’s topic addresses a spiritual matter that has occurrs to all of us during the holiday season, but I’ll also be tackling interpersonal relationships, computer breakdowns, health problems, do-it-yourself issues, travel, and virtually anything else I care to. TODAY’S DISCLAIMER APPEARS IN ITALIC CAPITALS: REMEMBER, I HAVEN’T THE FAINTEST IDEA WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

Q. Now that the year-end holidays are here, I find myself once again in the sometimes difficult position of having to explain to acquaintances and coworkers why I don’t celebrate them. I am single, my parents died many years ago, and I have no family. Coworkers take time off at Christmas, but I take mine at other times of the year. Over time, I have found that I would rather spend a so-called holiday catching up on correspondence, taking a walk, reading a good book or sewing. I understand the religious and historical significance of these celebrations and keep them in my heart, but do not observe them in a visible manner. When people ask me what I’m doing for the holidays, it is an awkward moment. How can I gracefully explain that I choose to keep the holidays in my heart only and enjoy the day as a small vacation for myself? – Lonely and Pathetic Yet For Some Reason Upbeat

A. There’s actually a great but largely unknown tradition in Christendom that’s rooted in the activities of sewing and catching up on correspondence. It is written in the Gospel according to St. Mark that, shortly after Jesus was born unto Mary in Bethlehem, that He was asked by a wise man (more of a wise guy, actually) to do something to prove His divinity. The Holy Child proceeded to produce a sewing needle and skein of fine linen from the rear pocket of his swaddling clothes and rapidly stitched the shawl he would then carry throughout his life and which ultimately became the Shroud of Turin. Then, about 15 years later, the Holy Teenager began what would become a lengthy correspondence with the prophet Huldah, who was sort of the “Dear Abby” of her day, about His acne.

All this might be difficult to condense into a short answer for your prying coworkers, so I’m sending you a package of tracts titled “Busy Work Is The Lord’s Work” that you can hand out to your acquaintances. Bring ‘em along when you take that Christmas Day walk along with that pile of books, and you can make yourself a small stage to harangue passers-by to adopt your One True Religion.

What a loser.

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