I’ve all the time cherished Christmas, however I feel I’ve misplaced a lot of the spirit as I’ve gotten older. Now that I’ve a younger son—who enjoys baking cookies together with his mother and eyeing presents underneath the tree, whereas struggling to behave underneath the attention of the “Elf on the Shelf”—I discover myself recovering a lot of what I’ve misplaced. That is great, however, as a father, I additionally discover myself reaching deeper into the which means of the vacation.
The concept of sacrifice is on the coronary heart of each Judaism and Christianity, and the notion of a father sacrificing his son is key. Christmas itself, when Christ is born, is the beginning of simply that sacrifice. I can not fathom giving up my son, however then again, I do know simply how a lot I’d sacrifice for him.
Maintaining the Spirit Alive
On the coronary heart of the vacations, that’s what the spirit of Christmas is all about: a transcendent choice locations the speedy apart, with the promise of the longer term shining so brightly that the darkness of the current fades. You shouldn’t have to be a believer to acknowledge this energy—the facility of hope, of perception in a future that’s price any sacrifice. Some tales are so deep in our bones that they have an effect on us whether or not we imagine or not, simply because they’re a part of what makes us human. And it’s in tales like these the place we are able to hold the spirit alive.
Christmas comes on the winter solstice, the loss of life of the yr. And in loss of life, there’s rebirth. As I write this, the times are getting longer, and, though will probably be weeks or months till we discover, it’s occurring nonetheless—even because it grows colder. Solstice festivals happen in each faith, reflecting our widespread humanity whatever the speedy context. Christmas is simply the Christian instantiation of this age-old celebration.
As a father, I discover the conjunction of loss of life, rebirth, sacrifice, and pleasure particularly significant. With each units of grandparents right here, with a younger boy nonetheless determined for Santa to reach, with the hope of a brand new yr and a brand new spring not that far off, I discover myself quietly joyful.
I additionally consider the victims of battle, of terror, of mass shootings, and of what their households should really feel once they take a look at vacation decorations. I consider the individuals who can not afford what they need to give their youngsters for Christmas. I consider folks with out household or pals, for no matter motive, and I do know the season could make them much more lonely and sad than earlier than. My coronary heart goes out to all these struggling—might you discover happiness, love, and peace within the new yr and higher days forward.
Santa is probably not actual, however the spirit of affection and giving is. I select to be Santa for my household, to assist my son know life’s hope and pleasure, whilst I do know he will definitely encounter its ache sooner or later. Hope and love will win, if women and men of goodwill select to make it so.
Merry Christmas to all!