For the last couple of years I’ve struggled with the late December period. I struggled for a couple of reasons, the first being its association with Jesus, it’s not fair to blame the Christian Church for the Christmas period but it is fair to say that here in Ireland it is this holiday that over takes everyones lives in the last quarter of the year. Christianity literally stole all its components and xmas is no different. The tree, lights, gifts, meal and even the date are all ‘borrowed’ from other cultures. As soon as that was clear to me, even when I was a believer in the J-man, the idea of Christmas was shocking to me and the thought of engaging in it was revolting. I suffered for many years what I can only describe as an allergy to Xmas… which leads me onto the other issue.. that being, I really enjoy this season.
There is something about this time of year that I find almost magical. The dark nights, the frosty air, the white lights in the streets and on the houses and even down the highstreet. Everyone is in good spirits and excited for the season. People want to be good. What’s not to love about that?
A few year ago I hated it. My allergies were very bad. Now, I’ve realized that 99% of the people on the street don’t care about Jesus. They care about the chance to get their family around the table, this one day of the year, eat and spend time together. It’s a shame that this isn’t something that people can arrange a dozen times during the year but if it has to be in the xmas week, when most people are off work, the school have stopped and there are no excuses, so be it.
A single malt whiskey, warm PJ’s, my wife and I snuggled under a blanket while the frost is on the window panes, James Bond of the TV and a selection of ‘bumber xmas’ sized snacks strewn around the couch.. that’s my holiday season highlight.
The winter season is beautiful and it’s important to remember that Christianity didn’t invent it. There is no JC copyright on snow, no ‘new’ testament stamp on fancy sweaters, scarves and gloves and no letter from paul declaring turkey to be the reason for the season. We are as free to enjoy the dark nights and chilly days, the stony silhouetted trees against the cobalt grey sky, the snow ball fights, the candles in the windows and the hot chocalate during the winter months are we are the flowers in spring and the fallen leaves in Autumn.
So dress your window with some twinkly lights if you like, take advantage of the sales, enjoy a walk or two and take pleasure in the good will that people seem to have in abundance. Maybe your light will shine a little more brightly when the world seems a little darker.