by Chris Meinecke
For a few years running now I have found it to be my fortune to write all of you on Christmas Eve. Some notes have had a theme, others some random thoughts I had while in the midst of watching another holiday movie. I ponder over some things in the weeks leading up to it, but I never truly know what I’ll write until I power up my laptop. In a few ways this is good for everyone. I get to be spur-of the-moment creative in my writing, and you get the thoughts and ideas as the bolts of electricity that rattle around in my grey matter with an amplitude of notions and approximations that are there on any given day throughout the year, fire down to my fingers. No matter what I write, know that this note is wide-reaching. Know that no matter who you are, what your views are, or where your religious belief’s happened to fall, I hope that this is something that will help to make your weeknight in December or whenever you read this a little better.
As the people who know me can attest, I am not one to be caught up in religion. That fact does not mean however that the whole reason for Christmas being driven by religion is lost on me. You’ll notice that I say “reason” for a reason. Many people will tell you that the “meaning” of Christmas is seeded in religion, and they’re in no way incorrect. I just see it a little differently. Many of those same people probably question why I love the Christmas season so much if my feet aren’t planted steadfast in a Christian religion. It’s simple and it brings me to my first of two points.
The “meaning ” of Christmas to me is to make things a little brighter while several things in the world are cruel and stressful during the rest of the year. The meaning is not just that ice skating with friends and having hot coco after is fun, or that decorating the outside of the house like Clark Griswold will get you on the evening news. The meaning isn’t to make sure the lights on the tree are in perfect symmetry, or to out-spend cousin Donna so you can wow your family. Some or all of those things are great, but the meaning is being with the people you enjoy. Hearing that song you heard as a kid while lying on the couch listening to the old hi-fi, gazing into the glow of the lights on the evergreen. Giving someone a gift because you can, or you want to, not because you have to. It’s about appreciation.
Which brings me to point number two. I posted out to my friends on social media a couple of months ago that in so many words it was time to appreciate the people who surround you. That word gets thrown around a lot. “If you could you hand me a towel I’d appreciate it, I spilled reindeer gravy all over my velour leggings”. In this country we don’t take the time or effort to understand what some of the words we use every day even mean. Your definition may differ slightly from mine, or even Webster, but the concept remains. You don’t even have to like the people that surround you, just appreciate that they serve some purpose. Even if that purpose is to make you crazy so you work harder, sing better, or flatten pizza dough faster. It’s time to appreciate the people that surround you because it’s all you have. If you’re about to embark on a journey that will completely flip the script on your life and you plan to have a whole new gaggle of folks in your life, I APPRECIATE your effort. Me, personally, I’d APPRECIATE the Swedish Bikini Team holding tryouts in my living room every April, but those aren’t the people that will realistically surround me. Not soon anyway.
Find your meaning for Christmas. Seek out the appreciation for others that is buried deep within. Don’t get consumed by things that take away from your joy of the season. It’s time to find some meaning, appreciation, and maybe even a couch next to a tree with some lights on it and a hi-fi.
Merry Christmas everyone.