Craige McMillan, Novelist ©2018. Armageddon Story. Reader's page.
Dispatches Across Eternity. A novelist looks at Earth's Final Kingdom.

Thanksgiving and Christmas

Christmas Ribbons. Thanksgiving and Christmas Heartbreaks.

Holiday Heartbreakers

by Craige McMillan
That day which you fear as being the end of all things is the birthday of your eternity. —Seneca

The holiday pain has begun. We are underneath the flight path of the life flight helicopter, which makes its way to and from the hospital more often than usual this time of year.

Christmas seems to hasten the passings of friends and family. At least it did for me a few years ago. That was my father's appointed time. He chose ashes. Oddly enough, the funeral home resisted the idea of burying him a week later; ground too frozen. Really? It was a bottle. But burial didn't happen until spring. So the open wound was present from Christmas until spring. And beyond.

What about you? You've either lost family members…or you will. Friends. Or maybe it's you…the holidays are a prime time.

Our culture does a good job of ignoring death. If not ignoring, then hiding. Papering it over with gift wrap. Pretending it's not really there. But a culture that has lost its faith in God and the supernatural is a culture that is terrified of death. Absolutely. Terrified.

Why? Because the life that those in such a culture see taking place around them is all there is. When it's over, there is…nothing. Only the memories remain on this end; oblivion lies just over the wall. Those who like to keep track of such things will count the poker chips you left on the table and determine your relative position in the grand material hierarchy. If you were in the top…say…zero-point-zero-zero-zero-one percent--you mattered. Otherwise…well, who was she?

I haven't paid much attention to what science has had to say about eternity for quite a long time. Money and politics long ago co-opted science as a useful tool…or is it fool?

These days science is struggling with eternity. One of those struggles is with Eben Alexander, the Harvard-trained neurosurgeon whose brain shut down under the watchful eyes of his colleagues. But he didn't die. He returned a few days later with stories that made those colleagues very uncomfortable.

We often forget that science is a human invention. Like all of us and our creations, it has its limits. This Thanksgiving and Christmas season, if the lifeguard helicopter passes low over your house on the way to the hospital, understand that what science "says" doesn't change the universe one little bit. It is still a very big and a very strange place. Our pronouncements about its beginning and end are more an exercise in hubris. The universe probably is not--and never can be--known or understood by our very finite human minds.

But isn't that cause for celebration?

Reconnaissance, Volume One of Armageddon Story.

Image licensed under Creative Commons


Pen graphic for contacting novelist Craige McMillan, creator of the Armageddon Story; Judgment, Interrupted novel series

Copyright 2018 Craige McMillan. All Rights Reserved.
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