December and January bring with them many holidays celebrated by many religions: Winter solstice (Yule), Samhain, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, Rohatsu-Bodhi Day, Zarathosht Diso; Gantan-sai, Mahayana New Year, Guru Gobindh, Maghi, and Vasant Panchami among them. But here, in the United States, the most widespread holiday is Christmas.
Christmas – whether you are Christian or not, it plants itself right there in your life. It’s an interesting holiday rife with controversy. Has it become too commercial? Should we force the holiday of one religion onto everyone? Is it even the same holiday it should be? Has Santa replaced Christ in Christmas?
No matter what you think, the one thing about Christmas is how different it is from other holidays. The feelings it evokes in so many people sets it apart from all the rest. There is a certain extra generosity of spirit that takes hold of people during the season, no matter who they are or what they believe.
For me, the stories of hope, despair, and then redemption and joy are what make Christmas time extra special. I’m a Christmas special junkie. I love listening to carols as I write out cards and bake cookies. I adore reading “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (“The Night Before Christmas”), “Is There a Santa Claus?” (“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…”), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the Dr.Seuss book, not the ridiculous movie), and, of course, A Christmas Carol.
In the coldest, darkest part of the year, Christmas shows up with generosity, hope, and joy. May you hold all three in your heart, no matter your beliefs, as you face the challenges the year may bring.