This week people around the world will celebrate Christmas. Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, there’s no denying Christmas is the world’s preeminent holiday.
It’s ideals of peace, love and joy are transcendent. And who doesn’t enjoy giving and receiving gifts? The look on a child’s face on Christmas morning makes the allure of Christmas easy to understand.
Mankind has done its best to diminish Christmas over the centuries. War, hatred, prejudice, commercialism and a slew of other problems have taken a toll on us. Last week 20 elementary school children in Connecticut were murdered. That incomprehensible tragedy has no doubt cast a long shadow on this season’s holiday, but nothing has kept Christmas from streamrolling through time. We anticipate Christmas each year just as our parents, grandparents and thousands of other ancestors did.
Christmas has certainly changed. While the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus remains the central aspect of the holiday, there’s no denying it has become much more secular, much more commercial. But through all the changes, Christmas remains the most important day on the calendar.
This week families all over the world will gather to share the Christmas holiday. Dinners, gifts, stories from Christmas past will be part of the celebrations.
These are particularly good days for most children. As Christmas nears their excitement builds. Just one more holiday television special and they may explode in a fit of spontaneous human enthusiasm.
Christmas is all good for children. They’re not stressed about holiday shopping, not worried about getting the house ready for company.
It should be just as good for adults. While it’s bound to be a few hectic days leading up to Christmas, take a few moments here and there to relax and enjoy the holiday spirit all around us. No amount of stress will keep Christmas from coming.
We know that from the Dr. Seuss classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” It’s the story of the Grinch, an evil creature determined to stop Christmas from coming, who becomes a good-hearted being who finally understands the meaning of Christmas.
After stealing all the village’s Christmas gifts the Grinch realizes he failed; Christmas had arrived anyway.
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
“Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”
Christmas certainly does mean more. We shouldn’t need fictional children’s stories to remind us of that.
This will be the 2013th Christmas. As we celebrate perhaps we should think back to the very first Christmas. It gave the world hope of something better, much better. It placed love above all else. Love and hope. There can be no greater gifts.
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