Saturday, December 19, 2009

So This Is Christmas

Tonight, weather permitting (and so far, it looks like it just might permit), we’ll be going to Glen Burtnik’s Xmas Xtravaganza, an annual Christmas concert Kathy & I have been going to since our second date back when the world was young. It’s a great time, which I’ve written about before, and promises to be one again.

It’s also the real kick-off of the Christmas spirit for me. I always enter late in the game, but this concert always warms me up in a way that’s just perfect. It makes me remember the True Meaning of Christmas, in all caps.

Now, my True Meaning of Christmas might not be the same as yours. For one thing, there’s a lot less Jesus in mine. No one knows when Jesus was actually born (although some astronomers claim is was June 17), but it’s fairly commonly agreed that the December 25 date is commemorative, rather than an actual anniversary. The date itself is arbitrary.

Except it’s not. Not here, anyway. We’re heading for the shortest day of the year, and we’re in for two or three months of cold and darkness. Snow and ice and nasty weather threaten to strike at any time, messing with our well-laid plans and isolating us from our friends and family. The beginning of December sees us staring down a meteorological crapquake, and the warmth of spring seems unimaginably distant.

So we need Christmas now. Whenever Jesus was born, and whatever he ultimately means, we need Christmas on December 25, to help us be brave enough to face the cold and dark. To give us some twinkling lights to see, and hearty songs to sing.

It’s time to make our own warmth. It’s time to gather with loved ones, and express how much they mean to you. It’s time to enjoy cookies and fruitcake and big honkin’ hams. It’s a good time for bourbon, it’s a good time for stout. And more than anything, it’s a good time to smile at a stranger, and wish them a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, whatever. It doesn’t matter what you wish for them: just make a wish. Maybe next year will be better than this one, and maybe it won’t. But we’ll all be going through it together, and there’s nothing wrong with huddling together for warmth.



bastard central said...

you know it's in discussions like this where the bastard's minor in history can tell you why christmas is this time of year but, i think your answer to the christmas riddle is much more what needs to be heard now moreso than the catholic church throwing a monkey wrench into roman politics anyway.

jave a very merry christmas sir

Rob S. said...

You, too, man. But I'd love to hear the explanation sometime.

chrisready said...

Well said, my friend. And there's a reason the Pagans celebrated the solstice - a reminder that brighter das were literally ahead!

Travis said...

Mr. Rob, I truly hope you and Kathy have a great Christmas.

Rob S. said...

Merry Christmas to you, too, Trav -- and your family, too.

Greg! said...

I did not until recently know that the lyrics are in fact a poem by Christina Rossetti...

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

Greg! said...

And sorry to have missed Glen again this year, 'though with the weather we got it's probably just as well.