Darkness in the sky. Lights illuminated in neighborhoods around the nation. People walking down the street with their breath steaming ahead of them like the Polar Express locomotive. Gangs of folks gathered at a dinner table or around a fireplace. Singing carols, no matter how goofy they may be. Exchanging a gift or two with the people you love, not for value sake, but merely for appreciation sake. Viewing old movies with a child for the first time. Holding traditions sacred year in and year out.
These are the things that make Christmas Eve night good. Friends and family is what makes this same night great.
As most of us join up with our families tonight, waiting for a home cooked meal, sharing a laugh with our siblings, and anticipating what’s to come the next morning, we become a different person. The wonderment of the Christmas season makes us glow in a way that many of us don’t get most of the rest of the year. This is our chance to erase ill will towards others that we may have never intended. This is our chance to remember holidays gone by, and the people we have shared those memories with. This is our chance to make welcome all of the people who mean so so much to us into our homes. This is our chance to right the wrongs that have bothered us for the a week, or even several years. This is our chance to be who we strive to be toward our fellow-man all the time and learn how to treat them with respect and kindness no matter the situation.
No matter what holiday you celebrate, no matter what season that holiday falls on, we can all learn from the spirit of Christmas. I am by no means a religious person, but something happens to my soul at Christmas. I will never claim to be a part-time religious zealot. I will never claim that the spirit of Christmas will make me a perfect person the entire year-long, but it certainly will reset me, and help to ensure that a little piece of every merry holiday is carried with me.
I encourage everyone, regardless of race, religion, color, or creed, to recognize a small bit of Christmas spirit and let it help you to be a better person in your life. As I am reminded every year, a truly great and special friend wishes me a merry Christmas without fail. She is usually one of the first to do so. She always makes sure to let me know how much I mean to her, even if she is living over 2,000 miles away now. She, is a Muslim. It never ceases to amaze me how absolutely gracious she is. It also make me think of the great word that the Jewish people taught me, “schmuk”. I am a schmuk for not remembering any of the holidays is she holds dear in her faith, yet she welcomes the fact that I celebrate Christmas and doesn’t think twice about sending me those warm wishes. For that, Amany, I thank you.
Merry Christmas everyone. May your lives be enlightened, may you dream of all the sugar plums you could ever imagine, and most of all, may you find the rich and steadfast embrace from your family and friends each day, and every day, from this day forward.