Dec 11, 2017
By Andrea Granahan
I love Christmas. Some near and dear to me in my family are Jehovah’s Witnesses are revolted by my devotion to this holiday, which they consider Pagan (and it is in great measure) and don’t understand my feelings because I belong to no Christian church. I consider all organized religion an oxymoron. Faith is intensely personal for me.
But what I love about Christmas is manifold. First of all, the Pagans had it right. It’s darkest time of year up in these latitudes. It’s so painfully dark, it’s like an annual tunnel we have to get through to find light and spring again. It must be really miserable as far north as Scandinavian and Germany and those other poor countries so much farther north than we are who invented this Pagan holiday of lights to make it through. Good for them.
But the most important thing for me is that it celebrates a newborn. Don’t get me wrong. I like Jesus. I love the New Testament and its rejection of the old “an eye for an eye” Old Testament sense of vengeance (which I admit beat a life for an eye which preceded it).
For me, Christmas means celebrating the birth of hope that every newborn means. It’s baby day.
I think of the various people that have gifted mankind – and I wonder if their parents knew. Did Pasteur’s mother and father when Louis was born, realize how many lives their son would save for generations to come? Did Jonas Salk’s parents understand he would save the world from the iron lung? Did Marie Curie’s parents realize their daughter would give the world a whole new understanding into how the universe works and die from radiation poisoning because she figured it out? Did Einstein’s parents even begin to grasp what he could bequeath to us all - for good and evil?
I doubt it. But that’s the ever-unending miracle of life and love recreating itself. Every time a child is born new possibilities arise, new hope is born, and innocence triumphs. It needs to be celebrated.
At our darkest moments – and the original holiday timed it with the Solstice, the darkest day, hope comes to us in the shape of a child, a new life, IF we are responsible enough to treasure it, to give it all we have to give and launch it into his or her new life on earth.Every baby is our savior, or could be given the right caring and tools for living. So when I put up my lights to see me through the dark night, and erect my perhaps Pagan tree for the perhaps Christian holiday, I don’t care who or what or where the tradition comes from. For me, it is intensely personal. I am launching my hopes once again for all the newborns of the world.Merry Christmas – it truly is a time for joy. May light come back to your life and to mine and my family's.
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