Well, it’s Christmas Eve. When I was growing up, the year revolved around two days: Halloween and Christmas. All other days were just countdown days to those two. Even birthdays paled in comparison to Halloween and Christmas. It’s pretty obvious why Halloween was awesome. Creepy ghosts, cool costumes, candy, scary movies… what’s not to love?
With Christmas, it’s become a little harder to pinpoint.
Sure, on the surface the answer is obvious: PRESENTS!
That’s not the real reason, though.
Even when I was a kid, the love of Christmas was something deeper than the desire to open presents. Don’t get me wrong, the presents were awesome… but I looked forward to Christmas because of something more.
Growing up, my family always watched A Christmas Carol and we loved it. The ending made me want to stand up and cheer.
And that had nothing to do with presents.
During Christmas time, something happens to people… and it’s something good.
Sure, we see the Black Friday chaos on the news and we hear about the “war on Christmas” and we see complaints that Christmas is all about consumerism. We see fights over the word “holiday” and we see people scoff at the amount of money parents spend on their kids’ presents these days and we groan at the 10,000th time we hear “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” We hear people talk about how Christmas is a sham.
Well, I say all that is horse hockey. I say we hear about that stuff because media outlets know that controversy gains more viewers than contentment.
We don’t see many reports on the good things, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
I say Christmas still rocks and it rocks because of one thing:
At least with the people I know, from the day the Christmas lights go up, something good happens. We look at those lights like we’re 10 years old again.
And greetings move from neutral to good. We stop saying, “Goodbye” and we start saying, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” or “Happy Hanukkah“ or “Happy Solstice.” The point here isn’t the name of the event. The point is that during this time of year, the standard greetings begin with the words “Merry” and “Happy.” People naturally begin wishing each other well. During this season, we default to “I hope you are happy.”
Families put forth the effort to see each other. They travel for hundreds of miles just so they can be in the same room with other family members.
To me, that’s incredible.
And it’s beautiful.
For many people, Christmas is a religious holiday, and that’s awesome. For others, it’s purely about spending time with family and friends. For many people, it’s about keeping magic alive in the hearts of children. And for many people, it’s a combination of all those things and more.
For me, though, Christmas is about love. It’s about the love you feel for your family and your friends and your neighbors and your fellow human beings. It’s about smiles and warmth and good food and watching someone you love tear into that wrapped present. The final scene in A Christmas Carol is awesome because it’s a scene that is completely saturated in love.
Christmas doesn’t make the suffering in this world go away, but it does inspire us to shift our focus, if only for a day. We at least try to focus on the good in humanity. We try to be more giving. We try to smile more. We fondly remember those we’ve lost and we appreciate the people who are still in our lives.
And that, in my humble opinion, rocks.
So to you, let me just say this:
No matter what you celebrate or what you believe…
I wish you a wonderful day. I hope your day is full of love and miracles and happiness.
To me, the one bad thing about Christmas is that we don’t wish this for each other every other day of the year.
Merry Everything, folks. You’re awesome.
P.S. My apologies for being a hippie today. Cut me some slack. It’s Christmas Eve.