We are staying home for Christmas this year, after traveling to visit family the past few years, and that has given us a chance to clean and decorate the house for holidays. We have the Christmas tree up and decorated with ornaments the rambunctious dogs and even more rambunctious young boy are less likely to break. Across the mantle we’ve hung our stockings which, since I’m pathetically furry at times, all have tails of appropriate species. Thus we’re settled in for Christmas.
This got me to thinking: what does “Christmas” mean to us, and to me? We aren’t particularly religious. We can’t pretend that we’re actually celebrating the Christian holiday by any stretch of the imagination. (Axial tilt is the reason for the season!) But I still refer to it as “Christmas” because we carry a lot of the trappings of the traditional holiday.
There are certainly parts of the Christmas tradition that resonate with me. Who would argue against “peace among men” as a theme? The celebration of goodwill and bonhomie can be a powerful thing. Though often couched in heavy-handed moralizing (which is often poorly animated, if we’re talking classic TV specials), the message is a challenge to all of us to find the best within us, to turn outward our best faces.
The season, in this prelude before the end of the year, also gives one time to reflect. To pause in the headlong rush of daily life and to be thankful for what we have.
We had a little get-together at our house this weekend for a few local friends. (You might call it a party, though even my generous friends would not be likely to call me much of a “party person.”) It was an evening of casual chat. We provided a spread of traditional and comforting sorts of foods; not too fancy or fussy. And guests brought drinks -- some very nice ones.
It was a cheery evening at our little oasis in the dark, frosted woods. A chance to refresh friendships and share time in this hectic world. That’s a great gift and I’m thankful.
These little moments of peace and connectedness are a powerful part of Christmas to me. In the end, I guess I call this “Christmas” because I always have. You may call it by whatever name fits your tradition. But I do hope you’ll celebrate it with me.
Thanks to each and every one of you here. Happy holidays to you and yours!