I love Christmas time. Peace on earth, goodwill toward men, etc.. Who could argue with that? One doesn’t have to adhere in any particular faith, denomination or horoscope reading to find those concepts at least somewhat reasonable.
The Christmas tree, to which I’m quite partial, was not likely on the scene manger side in Bethlehem those many years ago, nor at any of Dr. J’s following birthday parties in the first century AD. It’s not a symbol of Christmas biblically, yet every December, or late November given one’s proclivity regarding such things, most of us pile ourselves, our families, or our friends and/or loved ones into the car and set out to find the perfect tree. The perfect dead tree that is, to procure, lash to the top of our car, and position in a place of prominence in our homes. Why?
The indoor tree as I understand it has its roots, pun-ish, in pagan ritual. It is meant to be symbolic of the fact that even during the darkest, most barren times endured in the northern hemisphere life will eventually spring anew. It is a reminder to be patient; to respect the way of things. To be clear, I’m not talking about the kind of patience seen on the Black Friday evening news during which local affiliates and their national counterparts recount the mob scenes, in-store fistfights of the day, etc. Wink! It’s more of a Christ-like, or buddha-ish if you will, patience that the pagans hinted at with there indoor arboreal relocation ritual. Coincidence?
Christmas spirit is, in my opinion, a safe place, an opportunity to reset, to reconsider one’s perspective in the midst of a dark, cold, and often trying time of the year. Candles glow, firelight dances across the room, the smell of pine permeates the house. These are all choices to which we can give life unless one is in lack of a fireplace. Even those who have no built-in way of burning yet other dead tree and thereby contributing in their own way to global warming can burn the yule log through the convenience of Netflix, or a discount DVD. No, It’s not the things or the smells per se, but the opportunity, the idea, of having the choice to create the experience; something different that shines an inner light on the darkness. That’s what fuels my Christmas spirit.
Christmas giving is or can be a two-way street. Some give to be appreciated. Some give to give. Christmas time allows a perennial look at who we are and why we do what we do; if only we might take the time to decipher our motives. It’s likely that most of us appreciate Christmas in theory. However, have you heard someone utter the words, “I just have to make it through the holidays?” It’s likely that those folks have fallen under the western interpretation of the season that involves hosting, presenting, performing…ugh, exhausting right? The greatest gift of Christmas spirit I can give is the gift given to me by the pagan rituals…patience. Loving more than I usually do. Letting mishaps pass as though they were nothing because let’s face it, in the ultimate scheme of things they often are just that. A dropped ornament, someone who will remain nameless licking the baking spoon before we have finished laying cookie dough on the tray, anxious children acting out due to excitement are all part of the experience, and of course the impatient driver, shopper, clerk, etc.
Christmas spirit comes upon me, overtakes me and empowers me. Christmas time fills me with the hope that I can choose to be my best me. To be more giving, more thoughtful, more patient than I might otherwise choose to be. That is the best gift of all. And so with joy in my heart, I wish you a very Merry Christmas time!