Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas, and other politically incorrect thoughts

For as long as I can remember I have loved this time of year.  There is something about the feeling surrounding all the lights and gaudy decorations that says "It doesn't matter how dark the world is, we can light it up, make it bright and cheerful for a while."  Perhaps it's because of the times my father would take us kids for a ride to look at the brightly decorated homes: some celebrating the birth of the source of one of the world's great religions, though his actual birth date is inconclusive; others celebrating the 'Jolly Old Elf' in the red suit who magically leaves presents for the children without ever being seen.  Perhaps it's remembering Christmas Eve in the small village of Gilbertsville, when the whole town showed up at The Overlook where the children got to see Santa ride down Academy Hill in a horse-drawn sleigh.  He doled out small gifts to every child  in attendance, and yes, there was snow on Christmas. 

Christmas has no religious significance for me, except as it seems to bring out a sense of kindness and giving in so many people, a feeling I wish would persist throughout the year.

All of the holidays around the solstice are built around light, an appropriate reaction to the darkest day of the year.  The nine candles of Hanukkah, the seven candles of Kwanzaa, the lighted tree of Christmas, the many candles of  ancient Saturnalia; are all about chasing the darkness. There are lots of different kinds of darkness in our world.  Let's try to shed some light on as many as we can.

I was stationed in Turkey back in the early sixties. I remember a doctor on base coming out of the hospital smiling.  When I asked him why, he said "I just got a Christmas card from a Muslim colleague in Istanbul, and I'm a Jew."   He wasn't offended by the gesture.

So, I wish you all a Merry Christmas. Christian or not, embrace the peace of the season.  Give something to someone, even if it's just "Hello."

1 comment:

  1. Wishing you and Carol a very Merry Whatever. We'll be eating white Norwegian food tonight at Kay's. Flowers blooming, oranges ripe...gotta love the desert!