Reflections about Christmas
As a small child I loved Christmas. It was a magical time for me. When we went to bed Christmas Eve the house looked the way it did every other night. No tree, no decorations, no presents. We awoke Christmas morning to the magic of the tree ablaze with lights. Presents were beneath it. It looked wonderful because there were presents for the four children – me and my three brothers. With the lights sparkling on the tree and the presents beneath it the room looked like a magic land. We opened presents, dressed in our finest clothes and went to the local Episcopal Church for the tradition Christmas service where we sang carols galore. We visited friends and relatives but mostly they visited us because we were six and they were fewer in number.
As a teen-ager I began to question the meaning of Christmas and had trouble singing the Christmas Carols as I did not believe the story they told. If I sang them I felt like a hypocrite. If I did not I felt out of sync with those around me. This feeling continued long into my adulthood even after joining the Unitarian Universerlist Church. I attended many UU Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services – some of which met my needs. Some of which didn’t even come close. I learned to pick and choose what fit my needs from the various services. I threw away was did not. I was a long coming to this conclusion- that it was okay to disregard what I felt was inappropriate for me. I could sing a few verses of some carols but not all verses of all carols. I could put the singing of carols down to being a part of the season even if I felt that the story was inaccurate and unbelievable. I could get up and walk out if something deeply offended me or I could tune out while appearing to pay attention. I could put together a service which met my secular needs – knowing that such a service might not meet someone else’s needs. I need not sit and be quiet. I could be proactive.
Christmas, to me, is a caring time of the year. A time when we let people know how much they mean to us, a time of giving to those less fortunate, a time to let the world know that we care. It is a time of giving and there are so many different ways to give. As the song The Secret of Christmas says it is not the things you do a Christmas time but the Christmas things you do all year through.
I plan for Christmas all year long and enjoy every moment of it. From sorting the donations at the soup kitchen to sending those special presents to California, from addressing the Christmas cards to baking cookies, from decorating the tree to having friends over on New Year’s Eve, to shopping in the stores at six a.m. on December 26th to meeting long lost friends for lunch, there is no finer time of the year for me. If people want to celebrate the birth of Jesus let them just as long as I can celebrate friendship and the goodness of people. There is a woman I work with at the Soup kitchen who thinks all atheists are bleep bleep. When I tried to tell her that atheists can be good people and do good things she just repeated her bleep, bleep comment. She considers herself a good Christian who thinks that Christmas should be celebrated to honor Christ only .I think that it is wrong to go stereotyping a group of people period. I disagree with her but did not continue our conversation as it would not convince either of us to change out minds.
I especially enjoy the looks on the faces of children. The sheer joy shines out through their eyes and in their smiles.
This is a magical time of the year to be enjoyed no matter what you believe or don’t believe about the holiday. I hoped that you enjoyed the holiday in whatever way we chose knowing that others enjoyed theirs celebrating in their own special way.
Merry Christmas to you one and all and a Happy, happy New Year.