Tomorrow is Christmas, Merry Christmas to you and yours. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Christmas has always been a joy for me; I have always loved it. At first, of course, for the presents! But then, as I grew older, for the original meaning behind it: Love and peace for all mankind—the realization and manifestation of love in the world, as inspired by the birth of Christ.
Christmas in my house as a child was the true manifestation of love, happiness, and joy. Yes, much of that was expressed in present giving and receiving, and man, there were lots of presents for sure, and my family went through some hard times, but there were always presents. But of course it went beyond that material exchange. The mystery and magic of Christmas was everywhere. My mother was known by all of us in my family as the “Queen of Christmas” and she made great effort to decorate our home with lights, trimmings, ornaments, and everything imaginable that is “Christmassy.” She loved to make Christmas mysterious and magical as well. My environment during this wonderful time of year was pure fantasy, and to this day I cherish the memories and try my best to repeat a few of them every year.
The last two Christmases (including this one) carry a bit more melancholy than usual, considering the state of the world. But there has always been sadness, lack, and suffering in the world. Of course, as kids, and even the majority of most people’s adulthoods, that awareness is pretty distant. Particularly if we are blessed to have been born in a country that is relatively stable and opulent. This of course is the time to realize that the majority of the world was not born into that privilege, and to give from the heart, and the wallet, as much as we can for those less fortunate.
Of course this year we are fundamentally less fortunate than we were years before. Our cultural base has been threatened, and continues to be threatened, by the World War of Ideas. Our ideas of freedom, human decency, and a meaningful and purposeful life have been seriously threatened. And although this threat has been present for decades, if not millennia, these past two years have shown the most egregious display of it.
But it is important to always know that love, and peace among human beings is really the foundational truth about mankind. It always has been, and always will be. There are evil forces at work, and that too has always been the case, but the love of God (and if you are not a believer in God, please be a believer in something) is always present, always at work, and will always prevail.
Share some of your Christmas memories—or other celebrations you have experienced this time of year!
Merry Christmas to all Shrews Near and Far…and to the Sheep as Well. Merry Christmas to All.
The spirit of Christmas is Christ-like love. The way to increase the Christmas spirit is to reach out generously to those around us and give of ourselves. The best gifts are not material things but gifts of listening, of showing kindness, of remembering, of visiting, of forgiving, of giving time.
— Bonnie L. Oscarson
What a lovely read for Christmas Eve, Todd, and equally enjoyable, or the stories from your readers! Merry Christmas to all!
Although I loved Xmas as a kid, and my parents went to great lengths to make it family-warm and exciting - even though they were Jewish, they really understood the tradition of delight in giving and gratitude- it is the Xmases where I got to watch the fierce joy of my own kids that bring up the strongest emotions, and all my favourite memories are about giving. I worked on a doll house kit for weeks, "secretly" (I thought!) in the basement as a gift for my wee girl. My ex would make amazing pound cake, and I'd do a dinner for as many relatives as were willing to come - it was a gas!
I remember particularly fondly an activity after a sumptuous meal, one that freaked out my then-newish manfriend (later, my 2nd husband), where all of us sat around playing games with the dictionary - who knew which collective nouns for various animals!
Your phrase "Our ideas of freedom, human decency, and a meaningful and purposeful life" remind me of travels in Egypt. Those folks have been overrun by conquerors so many times in their history, that their word for their own country is "Misr", meaning "occupied land". And yet, they have one of the oldest, continuous cultures on the planet and consequently know more than many about what is truly "a meaningful and purposeful life". And what do they value? Family, friends, celebrating with song, dance and food. This is what our happiness rests on, and only those ruling structures that allow sufficient "decency and freedom" to engage in these simple, human pleasures are worth the struggle.