Christmas Comes But Once Each Year
Christmas is a special time, but just as with other religious celebrations, its meaning and significance can morph into something else so quickly.
A parade of special days leads up to the Christians' celebration of Christmas each year, That parade of days is led by children on their way back to school, followed or led by workers freshened from taking a day off to celebrate not working. These are followed by cheer leaders and bands, well practiced for their season of athletics and events.
Those are followed by the clowns, princesses, witches, and look-alikes all masquerading for the candy-dispensing crowds.
These disperse, each to their own homes, while others often travel great distances for meals shared with family, friends, and sweethearts, meals of giving thanks.
Having given thanks, these return to their homes and jobs, schools and associates for a season of renewing relationships, decorating, and preparing for what many call "holy days" or "holidays" in the which, more than at any other time of year, charitable thoughts, smiles, and greetings lend some small aura of "peace on Earth" and "goodwill to all."
Some few will carry that feeling so far as to seek out others who are less fortunate than themselves, and offer help and assistance through charitable organizations and directly, so that a spirit of brotherhood and amity persists for awhile, more so than at any other season of the annual calendar.
On the actual day when Christians celebrate the birth of their Messiah, there is often gift giving, and there are special gatherings at churches and homes, the singing of traditional songs and hymns, calls to friends and family near and dear, amidst the twinkle of lights, the laughter of children, the contented smiles of family elders, and the scent of favorite foods and desserts to delight all diners at such Christmas feasts.
With the fall of evening, Christmas lights still glow, laughter still lingers, the well-fed and comfortable settle into family patterns of enduring traditions. For a moment, just then, the world seems dwelling in an uncommon moment of peace. Children fortunate enough to have received a new toy, or book, or game, are immersed in their own distractions of the moment. The tables have been cleared, the dishes have been done, and for some there is a fire in a fireplace..
It's cold but the warmth of service lingers on....
For others there is a nearby barrel bonfire, perhaps the memory of a good meal, a charitable shelter for the night, a kind word from a passerby. And the "day of days and night of nights" passes for another year.
In the days which follow, the year draws to its close. "Thank You" notes may be sent, wrong sized or broken items returned for exchange, jobs resumed, classes convened, and a week of unusual normalcy is survived before a new year and new plans are begun.
For an extraordinary moment though, families and individuals had been given a glimpse...brief as it was...of something splendid, something more cohesive, something better. Brief as it is each year, there was that reminder that life can be about thankfulness, prayers, sharing and giving to others. celebrating friendships, family ties, and selflessness.
Fleeting as it was, it touched us just enough that the longing for that season to come again, lingers until it can.
The miracle of Christmas is that its truths linger long after its brief 24 hours each year have ticked to an end. Christmas lingers enough that many perceive that "there is still hope for a better world."
Perhaps that is the true gift of Christmas: the gift of hope as the cycle of days and nights resumes.
Copyright 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
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