Historcially the Church has interpreted the day through the lens of Jesus’ Circumcision, still kept as such by Eastern Orthodox, Uniates and Anglicans. Jesus’ parents, obeying the law, locate him within the covenant of Moses. From that place, he will lead his disciples out into the cornfields, through the curse of the cross, to a glory far greater than Moses could ever imagine or reflect. By obedience to the law he begins to redeem those under the law.
Secular Redemption myths seem to be growing, however, in the public square — Times Square, to be exact (h/t Jean Fitzpatrick). People have been gathering there for the past two years to celebrate Good Riddance Day on the Feast of the Holy Innocents (28 December):
If we don't get rid of our stuff it accumulates. But what do we do about it? That’s the basis of the sacrificial system — it takes sin seriously, rather than sweeping it under the carpet. But for Christians the naming and shaming is only the prelude to a greater act of redemption than Mosaic circumcision could ever be — Grace, in all its absurd, liberating, healing, ludicrous excess. Where sin abounds, grace superabounds. Relax! Now we can love without pretending, or trade-offs, or status games. This year I need a better grasp of Grace, right from the outset, prefigured but super-transcended in the Circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia!
"SHRED YOUR BAD MEMORIES – EVERYTHING FROM WORTHLESS STOCK CERTIFICATES AND DEPRESSING BANK STATEMENTS TO PHOTOS OF OLD LOVERS AND DEAR JOHN LETTERS – IN THE HEART OF TIMES SQUARE," read the invitation on Craigslist. For just one hour on December 28, shredders were stationed along Broadway between 45th and 47th Streets, near the snazzy new TKTS booth, where New Yorkers or tourists could discard any distasteful, embarrassing or depressing memories from 2008. Passers-by could also write their bad memories on stationery available onsite and watch them get shredded. Or you could post your message online to be printed out, shredded and carted away for disposal or recycling. "Because sometimes," said the Times Square Alliance invitation, "you just need to let go."This year's Good Riddance Day saw the addition of a sledgehammer "to pulverize all those bad memories away." You could bring a broken cell phone or DVD player and a Times Square Alliance worker in protective glasses would smash it to smithereens.
And let go they did, getting things off their chest with all the spontaneity New York inspires in residents and visitors. One woman shredded a photograph of her ex-fiance posing with his current girlfriend. A Brooklyn man brought a picture of his appendix, taken after it was removed during emergency surgery. A woman visiting from San Diego used the onsite stationery to write "strife with my family," and her 13-year-old daughter wrote "getting bad grades on report cards." Another woman shredded a printout of her boyfriend's email breaking up with her. A Yankee fan shredded a poster of the Boston Red Sox: "I hate them," she said. "It felt good."