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Monday, December 25, 2006

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Someone said the most amazing thing to me a few years ago: “It takes a Jew to appreciate Christmas.” This was just a general comment from her own observations, but it struck home with me in a way that I don’t think she expected or realized, because she doesn’t say things to hurt people and would have been upset had I been hurt by what she said. But it did stop and make me think, and I have been able to get more in the spirit of the holiday season than I had been before she said it. It always takes me a little longer to get into the Christmas mood than it does most other people. There are reasons for this, of course...there always are for those of us who suffer from holiday Grinchitis. There are so many reasons that I could go into for my own personal case that I won't go into them; I'm not one who pleads for sympathy or pity or any such as that, but I do understand why some people simply wish to hibernate through the holiday season and awaken at its passing.

Now, let me give you the spiel that I give in some form or another every Christmas season, and no, my own religious beliefs or lack thereof are not necessarily reflected in my feelings about the holiday season. This is the season where we try to put aside our personal differences with each other for at least a little while and try to be better people, better individuals, as was set forth as tradition by the gift of a child to a world in need of enlightenment on how to live, born in the most humble beginnings, as tradition has it; a king born to a carpenter's wife in a stable in Bethlehem (and he WAS descended from the line of David, for those of you who didn't know this). As the Christ child grew into adulthood, he had a great many lessons to teach about how people should treat each other, hence, centuries later, his birthday took on an official season that became the Christianized celebration of pagan holidays at the beginning of the winter season.

My own personal feelings about the entirety of religion aside, Jesus Christ had a great many things to say about human interactions. We celebrate these teachings at Christmas and at Easter most especially, but they need not be limited to these two seasons alone, they should be followed year round. We each have our own vision of how the world should be that we live in. There were two teaching that Christ set forth that stand, year round, from generation to generation, that we should all follow, and if we did, the world would indeed be a better place to live in for all of us; those teachings being "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," and "love your neighbor as yourself."

Okay, so as you can see, I don't get what others call my usual diarrhea of the mouth when I start writing about the Christmas season. Be kind to each other this season, whether you are one who celebrates Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice, and try to take that kindness with you throughout the rest of the year.

These were forwarded to me in an email from another mailing that I receive, I thought I would pass them along.

"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!"
Charles Dickens

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
Dr. Seuss

"Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart."
Washington Irving

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Merry Christmas everyone.