"I wish you a hopeful Christmas, I wish you a brave New Year.
All anguish, pain, and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear. They said there'll be snow at Christmas.
They said there'll be peace on Earth.
Hallelujah! Noel! be it Heaven or Hell, the Christmas you get you deserve."
-Emerson, Lake & Palmer
So here we are, Christmas eve. Some folks are on the frontlines of the War On Christmas, on either side of the philosophical debate. Me? You know me by now. At least, if you've been reading for a few years, you do.
I chose the quote of the moment, from a song that is known the world around as an anti-Christmas song. It's classified as an atheist Christmas carol. I don't know that I take it to that length in my interpretation. I think it is a realistic assessment of the holiday. And the ending lines sum up for me where Greg Lake was taking us in his eye-opening, almost angry, still childlike embrace of what the day is.
Hallelujah! Noel! Be it heaven or hell, the Christmas you get you deserve.
I don't think it is a negative sentiment. I think it is exactly what Father Christmas himself would say. Look back on your year and wonder if you don't deserve a lump of coal, or a pair of nice fuzzy wool socks, or a jet ski. What did you do this year, what kindness did you offer, what comfort did you bring? What Christmas do you deserve, and are you going to receive it?
What Christmas are you going to give to others? Will you forgive the sins of others against you and give them more than they deserve, or will you hand off that angry lump of coal? And who are you to even deliver it? It isn't up to you.
What Christmas am I going to give?
There are those of you reading who are watching a loved one die right now. I wish you a hopeful Christmas. There are those of you reading who are lonely, alone, feeling abandoned by everyone around you; you've lost everything, made a mistake somewhere along the line and you cannot go back and fix what happened. I wish you a brave New Year. There are those of you reading who lost a child unexpectedly; a loving baby girl who you would so give the world right now to see opening her presents, dressed in her Christmas dress, playing with her cousins. All anguish, pain, and sadness leave your heart and let your road be clear.
There are those of you reading who are persecuted for your faith by members of your own family. There are those among you who I know have a sick child who will never heal. There are friends reading who think I've gone hopelessly liberal, and others who think I am next to Limbaugh in my conservativism.
Whatever your lot in life right this minute, whatever your picture in your mind of me, I cannot deliver anything to you, my dear friends, except the love in my heart and the companionship that I can lend when I can. The kind words of encouragement, the financial support when I can swing it. The connections to people I know who can or may help you, when I come across those people. My constant prayers for you, even if you have no faith or different faith, is all I have.
The spirit of Christmas is not whether or not you say it in the grocery store or if you bristle when someone says "Happy Holidays" instead. The look in the eye, the smile, the fact that no one spit at you when handing you your groceries -- this is the spirit of Christmas. Not whether or not the right saying went with it. Try and enjoy and embrace some kindness this year. I know it is almost over. But we as a people are so fractured and divided, that sometimes I doubt there is ever going to be any sort of cohesion culturally ever again.
I am not participating in the War On Christmas as a defenseman. Many would probably expect me to. I accept the Happy Holiday from the guy at the store, the gas station attendant, the mail man, whomever gives it to me. I may say the same back, I may say Merry Christmas, I may say Happy New Year. I look on the fact that someone helped me and didn't spit in my face as a way of praying, and a kindness that isn't to be repaid with snark. I accept, I open it, and I give it back.
So my dear reader: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Good Solstice Yule happiness to you. Don your gay or straight apparel, and just be kind, be happy, be alright with your beliefs, your faith, your non-faith, your life. And in the end, if everyone does that the offensensitivity will melt away.
I wish you a great night. A peaceful night. A holy night. A kind and happy night. A safe from harm night. A sexy night. A good night.