Monday, December 7, 2015

What Do You Celebrate? Christmas Edition

'Tis the time when I bring to you some sort of expression not of what you celebrate or what the person sitting over there celebrates but of what I celebrate. 'Tis the time for celebrating Christmas.

Christmas, as the biggest holiday of the year, may also be the most multi-faceted. It means so many things at once and also so many different things to different people. And also what we do celebrate may differ from what we may say that we're celebrating.

I think that one of my favorite things (as in physical things) about Christmas is the Christmas tree. I love setting it up and looking at all the glowing lights and each individual ornament and building up the pretty presents underneath. I love spotting trees at the mall or in people's windows. Christmas trees are like happiness in the darkened, cold winter days. They're like beacons: they bring people together, first to set them up and then later on to serve as the mailbox for gifts to one another. It's very sweet. And, yes, I do have a preference to a star on top, though there are some very pretty angels, too.

Visually, Christmas gives you something to look at and think about when it's cold and the days get dark so early and you just need a little something sparkly to cheer you up.

Thematically, I realize that I have almost been treating Christmas like Part 2 of Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. Christmas, in true A Christmas Carol style, is about remembering the good things that you have been giving and returning that kindness to your family, your friends, and anybody that you pass by in your life. That's where the presents come in and the gifting of cookies (I have a tradition of gingerbread cookie giving) and such. Which is good. And it's an easy way to make Christmas universal for people of different backgrounds (or to make Christmas a public holiday, that is). But Christmas is something more than that, isn't it?

In addition to the trees, I also like the nativity sets. One of mine is a teeny, tiny, vintage one of some sort of tan plastic with many, many little pieces. I like decorating with nativity sets because they remind me of what, past the cookies and the presents and the glittering lights and the generic wishes of goodwill, I should really be celebrating. Easter is about the death and resurrection, but Christmas is simply a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Simply a grand, joyous celebration of God's gift to Mankind. It's a memory and it's a thank you and it's worship. Suddenly Christmas is not so complicated anymore; suddenly it is the simplest of holidays. I think listening to Rend Collective's Christmas album last year helped me realize that celebration should be the biggest part of Christmas: and it's really the most amazing thing to celebrate. We have every reason to be joyous around Christmastime.

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