by Rick Rotante
The holidays are a blessing in disguise. I know we celebrate with gift giving and parties with family and friends. We wear funny hats and clothes. Many dress their houses as well with lights and statues of the Nativity scene or jolly ole’ Santa and his reindeer. Boughs of fresh holly now hang from the doors to welcome those who stop by. There is eggnog to consume and hordes of freshly baked cookies and candies to be eaten. And gifts are finally taken from their hiding places and displayed under the tree or on the fireplace mantle.
Some organize groups to sing carols in their neighborhoods or at the office before everyone finally heads home to friends and family. Some areas get that very special gift of snow lightly covering the rooftops and streets.
But these are not the blessing to which I am referring. The real gift is generosity. We see it at this time of year everywhere we turn. Municipalities like Police and Fire Departments cooking food to those without a hot meal, or organizing toy drives for children who would otherwise get no gifts; ordinary people going out of their way for total strangers who have fallen on hard times. Hard earned money given to charities. I realized that these gifts should be given all year round, but the holidays make it all worth doing for some reason.
Hearts that are locked up the rest of the year willingly open. Maybe that’s the true gift of Christmas. It gives us a reason to be the sort of person we might not otherwise be. And we can be renewed and enriched without mockery or suspicion. Dance or sing in the streets without ridicule.
Christmas comes but once every year. Without this wonderful short event, would we take the chance to open our hearts and give freely to others?
This is the time of year where many of the problems troubling us, seem to get put aside just for a little while. We turn our attention to the idea of celebration and thankfulness. The idea of Christmas and what it represents is a fitting end to every year. Even if you are not one to celebrate the meaning intended at this time, think of it as your opportunity to forget about yourself and consider others. If there is art in our life at all, make it the art of appreciating the year gone by and use this time to re-evaluate our purpose and make changes.
This holiday above all others is the one chance we get to do things right. To feel we can make a difference and put our prejudices on hold. To make amends to those we hurt and give forgiveness to those who hurt us. I’m not sure how to label the feeling that pervades us at this time of year. If we could bottle it and sell it throughout the year, the world would certainly be a better place for us all.