Years ago, the poet James Dillet Freeman wrote a column for Unity Magazine titled “Life is a Wonder.” A recent issue of the magazine contained an excerpt from his column called “Embracing Christmas.”
In the article, Freeman noted the annual complaints about Christmas. You hear them every year. “Christmas is too commercial. What happened to Thanksgiving since decorations go up at Halloween? Nobody seems to care about the real meaning of Christmas!”
The complaints are true, and while there’s plenty more where they came from, Freeman asks the question, “What if there were no Christmas?”
Could you do without Christmas?
Let’s be honest. There are at least a few moments–for some, complete days–when you wish Christmas was just done. No more frantic gift-buying for people who don’t really appreciate the presents anyway. No more standing on your feet for hours in a messy kitchen baking and cooking for guests who stuff their faces and leave.
No more trips to that Christmas god-forsaken place called the Post Office. No more cards, no more bolts of paper and tangled ribbon.
No more guilt when you side-step the red kettle. No more TV messages from soldiers stationed in faraway places. No more continual music from your city’s “only station for Christmas music” (then why do they all play holiday tunes?).
Best of all: No more You-Tube videos of families rapping in their Christmas jammies and Facebook photos of antlered pets!
Take a second to think about ALL of the above being gone. I mean, really think about it.
What if there were no Christmas?
Now, please read these words from Freeman’s article:
“I do not think we would be the holier for giving up Christmas trees and Santa Claus and gift giving or even Christmas cards.
Christmas is a flowering. Ancient truths, too important, warm, and deep for words—truths about ourselves, about our world, about our lives—have found expression in these lovely forms that are our ways of celebrating Christmas. They were planted in our minds long, long ago, some beyond all known events or recorded memories, and they have grown through many centuries. They have grown because they satisfy in natural and joyous ways our happy fancies and our deep-down needs. We have a wish and a necessity to express our wonder and love and joy and delight in beauty and in one another—yes, and our faith that if the spinning globe we inhabit wobbles toward winter, it will wobble back again to spring.”
So maybe we go a little overboard. Isn’t that human nature? I don’t know about you, but when I read Mr. Freeman’s words, my heart grows a little, like the Grinch’s does before he soars from Mount Crumpit down into Whoville.
They’re both right–Freeman and the Grinch–that Christmas lies in the heart. Christmas is there because, more than anything, Christmas is about the giving of ourselves. Christmas is about believing that the light and joy of the holiday will illumine our spirits and cast aside the long days of darkness.
If you believe, it will be so.
Merry Christmas from my heart to yours.