Even as a non-believer, and even with all that the holiday entails (the myths, the inventions, religion), I’ve always adored Christmas. To me, and for me, it’s always been the ethos of the holiday – the carols, decorating the trees, the tidings of great comfort and joy from loved ones, the spirit of love and compassion and the conceptual peace-on-Earth-good-will-toward-men. Naive, perhaps, maybe even foolish; some might proclaim (as I’ve done so very often) that reality dictates it is not love that makes the world go round, but money, greed, hate and intolerance. And, more often than not, they are masqueraded in the religious dogma that, ironically – and speciously – enough, they allege opposition to.
But it is not – and never was, for me – the religious doctrine or the mythology; rather the ideal of the season, and I never let that aforementioned reality imbue my unabashed immersion of Christmastime and the power that rescinds that reality. You don’t have to believe in a virgin birth to hold tight the tenor of Christmas.
Sorta how (Calamities of Nature’s version of) Linus’ soliloquy from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” explains it (click to enlarge):
More specifically, his last paragraph.
For me, Christmas is my love. Christmas is my friends. Christmas is family. Christmas is battling the vampires and dragons to the death for the ones that you love. Christmas is progress, not regress. Christmas is believing, if even for a nanosecond, that perhaps love – and not hate – actually does make the world go round. Or at least our love makes our worlds go round – those fortunate enough to have love, family and friends. Christmas is a community that lends its hands – and hearts – to those in most need during this holiday.
Platitudinous? Perhaps. But I’m not ashamed to own it. The “Christmas spirit” should be the spirit of the “every day.” We are the captains of our own souls and create our own fates…so, we need to be the person who we can actually look into the mirror at. Perhaps be even more than that reflection, not less.
Many, many years ago, once upon a time, when I was a wannabe songwriter and self-proclaimed poet, I wrote this little poem below, and while the innate message is of “hope and love,” this Christmas poem was crafted during a period I call my dark ages – a chapter in my life I look back upon only in abstract awe that I actually ever survived. Perhaps those stories are better left hidden within the storehouses of my soul. But even then, as now – whatever demons resurrect(ed) in my life, I, again, never let them deter my adoration of the holiday spirit, even when it seems an impossible task.
What has made my heart smile over the years is knowing that friends I cherish love this poem. Especially those with children. After copyrighting it years ago, a few years after writing it, I hand-wrote it (ah, the lost art of the handwritten word!) inside the Christmas cards I sent that year and the response was lovely and surprising. It was such a simplistic thing (it actually rhymed!) literally written while on a ten minute walk home from the subway, passing glorious neighbourhood holiday decorations while kids were running around the local park. Yet, throughout the ensuing years friends told me they actually read it to their children! How can my soul not gleam at the thought that my unsophisticated words of optimism in darkness would bring such light to others? I was honored and deeply humbled. As I still am.
And, as uncomplicated as it might be, it is how I feel throughout the holidays…and I share it here because if it can possibly put the smallest smile on a face, then it’s worth sharing. It’s not a monumental work; hell, it ain’t even the opposite of that. It is not of epic proportions. It’s merely guileless and mildly sanguine. But it, simply, is.
I want to wish all my family and friends…near and far, tangible and intangible, a most extraordinary holiday beyond our dreams and aspirations, and a new year filled with promise. Enjoy your days surrounded with people you love. I wish for all who read this – friends, family, strangers – the most magical Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy Kwanzaa. Happy Chanukah, Happy Festivus, or however you choose to observe. Set asunder your beliefs or non-beliefs, whatever your religious or non-religious persuasions. Forgo the animosity you might imbibe in a world you might find indifferent.
Even for a scintilla of a moment, will it hurt for anyone to just…believe?
(a holiday dream…)
Where is the snow at Christmastime?
Where are the songs that I sing in rhyme?
They’re inside your heart and they ring in time
Open your soul…let your soul shine
Sing to me
Don’t abandon me
I need you now
Don’t want the Grinch
So I dance in the flight of the snow-white dove
As I swallow the flakes as they land on my tongue
And I carol all night to the ivory and pine
With chestnuts afire…an intervention divine?
While the children playing with the snowman, pleased
Creating snow angels at the trunks of the trees
And I thank you, Christmas angel, for bringing me here
Even Mr. Scrooge, full of holiday cheer
Sings to me
Lets me fly on her wing
And Santa Claus has come to town
I knew he’d never let me down
He never ever lets me down
@1998 Sage Song Musings