A Hopeful Holiday

Christmas Decorations from the Grier-Musser Museum

Christmas Decorations from the Grier-Musser Museum

Here I sit with my fingers crossed, afraid to check the news and seeing what our new elected Fuehrer has to astonish and dismay the world. I could really work myself into a state about this turkey, but I have decided to concentrate this Christmas on the people I love. There is nothing I can do to buck the Electoral College majority for the Cheetoh-headed moron, so I will leave him to the scorn of history. (That will not prevent me from opposing him in a more substantial way if the opportunity arises.)

What is Christmas really all about? I think the operative word is “love.” According to John 3:16 in the King James Bible, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Christian doctrine says it was all an act of forgiveness to cancel out the “original sin” of Adam and Eve for eating the fruit of the forbidden tree of knowledge. God the Son incarnated as a human being and died a horrible death by crucifixion just so we’d all stand a chance. In this light, Christmas is a feast of divine love.

But not everyone believes this, and I myself tend to cherry-pick Christianity, adopting what I like and brushing the rest aside. I like the idea of giving gifts to the people who mean the most to me; and I like using this time of year to cement my closest relationships, whether with Martine, my family, or my closest friends.

Unfortunately, Christmas has been weighted down with a whole lot of paraphernalia. There are stores open twenty-four hours a day for last-minute shopping. (My shopping is all done—and I would never visit a retail store at this time of year because of the crowds.) I have no twinkling lights about my apartment: I don’t even have a Christmas tree or a wreath on the door. I don’t wear any ugly Christmas sweaters. Unlike most male Americans, I don’t watch any bowl games—or, in fact, any sports at all. Instead, I look forward to a nice Christmas dinner and an exchange of gifts with my oldest friends. Martine and I will watch the 1951 Alastair Sim version of The Christmas Carol, and maybe even A Christmas Story (1983) if I can. And I will read one of Charles Dickens’s lesser-known holiday works, such as “The Chimes” or “The Cricket on the Hearth.”

Use the real meaning of Christmas to become stronger in your emotions. Perhaps what the 2016 election really means is for us to look after ourselves, because most assuredly no one will look after us.