I wanted to say something about Christmas before I get distracted with baking, or cleaning, or another year passes me by and I forget. Obviously coming from a part-Jewish, part-Catholic, Part-atheist-pagan woman, I know it’s easy to scoff and pretend I don’t know what Christmas is all about. But when you’re exposed to so many different beliefs you really have to take a look at the truth of things, not the surface, not the gifts, but the real spirit of the holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, the Solstice, Kwanzaa, are all about finding light in the darkest time of year when all warmth and lushness has gone from the world. When the trees are free of leaves and the sun goes into hiding—we celebrate. We, as humans, as people, as family, take the darkness that surrounds us and we make it into joy, and love, and happiness—and that’s a miracle. You might be celebrating the birth of Christ, or the lasting power of oil, the beginning of a new year, or the magic of the solstice, but it’s no coincidence that we celebrate it now. We’re joined together in the need for a holiday, and we share it with everyone on this planet.
There is no need to be possessive of our specific holidays, or worry that meaning is being stripped from them by the inclusion of others, because at the root they’re all about the same things; love, light, and wonder. Forgetting that we share this world, and all the joy and love within it, has often gotten us into trouble. The holidays, and Christmas especially, is a time to meditate on peace. It’s a time of belief, maybe in God, or Santa, or that one day we will set aside our differences, but above all it is a time of enduring hope. Hope that we will live another year with the ones we love, and that humans will be capable of accepting and sharing the miracle or our existence—not fighting to prove who is best. I know some might disagree with me, and that’s OK, I’ve just often felt the meaning of the holidays gets lost somewhere in all the labels, the separations, and even the salutations. My main point is that today, more than any day, we should hope for understanding and celebrate how amazing it can be, no matter the source, to find astonishing brightness in the coldest and darkest of times.
Happy Holidays everyone, I wish you all love, peace, understanding, and of course, let none of us ever abandon our hopes for a better, more accepting world.