I’ve all the time beloved 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 beneath the tree, whereas struggling to behave beneath the attention of the “Elf on the Shelf”—I discover myself recovering a lot of what I’ve misplaced. That is fantastic, however, as a father, I additionally discover myself reaching deeper into the which means of the vacation.
The thought 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 alternatively, I do know simply how a lot I might sacrifice for him.
Protecting the Spirit Alive
On the coronary heart of the vacations, that’s what the spirit of Christmas is all about: a transcendent resolution locations the rapid apart, with the promise of the long run shining so brightly that the darkness of the current fades. You wouldn’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 consider 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 maintain the spirit alive.
Christmas comes on the winter solstice, the demise of the 12 months. And in demise, there’s rebirth. As I write this, the times are getting longer, and, though it will likely be weeks or months till we discover, it’s taking place nonetheless—even because it grows colder. Solstice festivals happen in each faith, reflecting our widespread humanity whatever the rapid context. Christmas is simply the Christian instantiation of this age-old celebration.
As a father, I discover the conjunction of demise, 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 12 months and a brand new spring not that far off, I discover myself quietly joyful.
I additionally consider the victims of conflict, of terror, of mass shootings, and of what their households should really feel after they take a look at vacation decorations. I consider the individuals who can not afford what they need to give their kids for Christmas. I consider folks with out household or associates, for no matter purpose, 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—could you discover happiness, love, and peace within the new 12 months and higher days forward.
Santa might not be 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 in some unspecified time in the future. Hope and love will win, if women and men of goodwill select to make it so.
Merry Christmas to all!