It’s not just Sunday, but it’s Christmas Eve. Time for my annual In Praise of Christmas Sermonette. Because, yes, I am a big fan of Christmas. As a proud member of the godless, I am not a bit embarrassed or chagrined. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a lovely secular holiday. I’ll explain why, but I also know the winter holidays can be a difficult and sad time for many people. The darkness of the season and the emotional freight of family associations contributes, no doubt. My views are not even shared by everyone in my own family. So this is not meant to be why everyone should like Christmas. It’s why I like Christmas.
For me (and many millions like me), Christmas is a secular holiday. I realize this is cause for handwringing around and about, but for me it is cause for celebration. I like just about all of it. The kitsch, the commercialization, the lights, the corny music. So what if “they” are manipulating me and everyone else to go out and buy something to make someone I care about happy or pleased. So they make money off of me doing something nice for someone else. So what? Better than they make money killing people. Even this Prince of Peace stuff is good. Sure, there’s no Prince, but a holiday whose theme is Peace on Earth, Good Will to All has got a lot going for it as far as I’m concerned. The bogus War on Christmas aside, nothing much wrong with wishing the best for people, even perfect strangers, whether it’s by saying Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas or Happy Kwanza or who cares what. You’re wishing them well. Even perfect strangers.
I insist on a tree every year, despite the fact that Mrs. R. tries to dissuade me. I like Christmas trees. We have ornaments our kids made when they were in school. They’re grown now, but I still like the ornaments. Grown or not, it’s a wonderful holiday for kids, yours or someone else’s. No school, with any luck a present or two. I think at least one of my kids believed in Santa Claus (aided and abetted by me, I’ll admit) until she was an early teen, and I’m not sure she abandoned it even then, just said she did. Now she’s a mom-to-be herself.
I’m with her. I’m not sure I’ve given up on Santa, either. For me, that’s the difference between Santa Claus and God. I still think there might be a Santa Claus.
So my very best to all of you and Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Whatevuh. And now you know I mean it.
May Peace come in our lifetimes — and soon.
For The Reveres, Christmas Eve, 2006