I don’t know how or when I’ll feel I fully understand life.
That said, I do believe I understand Christmas. No believer in any God, but a firm believer in Christmas – not expectations of saviours but a believer in principles. And values. Our society is built on values and principles.
And, ’tis the season …
For giving. For showing gratitude. For doing for others. For extending the hand of friendship and kindness, for opening doors and tidying up.
This season, this day we ramp up for – this day coming, the day after today, one-of-a-kind celebration day tomorrow, elevates so many things. Cynically we could deride merchants, Hallmark and Amazon. We could take shots at advertising and media folk for draining our pockets and making this season too much about commerce and spending (yet everybody loves a robust economy, right?). We could, as many do, complain the spirit of Christmas is overwhelmed by the commerce of it all. Many of Christian faith complain the purpose of it all has been lost.
Regardless of your religious/faith beliefs, the basic elements of this celebration is this: tomorrow, Dec. 25th, is a historically inaccurate date upon which our society celebrates birthday of a baby boy who went on to live a short but honourable life of kindness and giving. Whether or not he had all the attributes religious folk believe, whether or not he did all those things which have been written, his story lives on 2,000 years after his death. Very few people in history are remembered that long. Few are revered at all, and none have endured this way.
For many people his teachings are for following. For all of us he surely set the high bar for ethics and decent treatment of others. We need reminders of those ideals every day, not just once a year. We live in a tumultuous time.
There is comfort in knowing the world’s troubles are temporary. Leaders and despots come and go. Next year, next decade … next century there will be an endless series if crisis-scale issues to confront us and our descendants.
This annual of celebration of joy and commerce will likely continue – but it will change. The news will change. The climate will change. Everything about how we live our lives and do our work is changing at a rate we sometimes struggle with, but soon we’ll refer to it as slow-change because every innovation will be eclipsed by something newer, better, faster.
I cannot foresee a time when a pause for laughter, for family, for goodwill toward others will not endure and when it will not be needed.
This evening I’ll be cooking a beef tenderloin dinner for my family in Fort Saskatchewan. Children will smile, grandchildren will laugh and play while grandparents will savour the realization they’ve done something very right with their lives simply because of what they’ve created.