Here we are once again, having reached Christmas Eve, a day of anticipation and excitement. For some, it's a bittersweet time because someone is missing, or because things have changed now that they are adults. For others, it's a really busy day, for instance if you are hosting the Feast of the Seven Fishes, or if you have toys to put together out of sight of curious minds, or if you just thought about buying some gifts.
Today it is my turn again to write a post for sprite's Virtual Advent Tour 2018.
And I want to tell you about believing, because the Christmas season is as much about belief as it is about anything else. I'm not necessarily even talking about religious belief, though Christmas is at its core a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. There are plenty of people in the world who don't believe in Him, or the Christmas story. I'm also not talking only about Santa Claus, the beloved character who brings gift and fills stockings and is one of the primary symbols of Christmas.
What I would like to talk about is belief in something or someone you cannot see, or have never met. For instance, I never met any of my grandparents, and have only seen one or two photos of any of them. Yet, I believe they existed, not just because my parents existed, but because of all of the stories they told me about them. I believe the Christmas story, not just because it is the tradition of my childhood, but because to me it seems very real and very meaningful. I don't mind telling you that Christmas Eve and the retelling of the birth of Christ make me very emotional, because it seems like such a human story, and because, well, babies are in fact born.
I also believe in Santa Claus, for real. OK, I know that any gifts I receive are from friends and family, and that I can even use the gift receipt to return or exchange them without having to book passage to the North Pole. But you will never, ever be able to convince me that Santa and his reindeer do not exist. Because I have no reason to think otherwise. If Santa does not exist, why does Christmas seem like such a fun time of year? When I was a kid, we had a few Christmases where Santa was not able to leave gifts, but he did leave a few things in our stockings, and that was as exciting as a thousand packages. I know so many people who don't like this time of year, and/or think it's too commercial, or get sick of hearing Christmas music. If Santa does not exist, why is it that none of their grumpiness or irritation rub off on me, a person who is very easily grumpy or irritated? For some, this is a hard time of year because they are having troubles or have lost someone they loved. Why would those intense feelings happen if they were not human and capable of feeling both love and loss?
I guess for me it boils down to my belief that Christmastime is about the belief in and of love. It's a celebration - much more than Valentine's Day - of the fact that love exists, it remains, and that even if we can't see it as a physical item, we believe it's there. If you don't love or have never loved anyone or anything, there is nothing to celebrate, nothing to enjoy, nothing to miss when it is gone. I think most people believe in love - not necessarily the romantic kind, as there are so many other types. And to love, be loved, and believe in love is always better than the alternative, if you ask me.
Jesus, Santa, gifts, carols - everything we associate with Christmastime - are all about the belief in love. And love is belief more than anything else. And belief gives us so much that makes us human.
I hope this Christmas Eve is one of belief, hope, and joy for you and your family. May the very best of the season be what you experience, and may you feel love above all else. Always be looking up.
And if you are like me, I hope you are listening for, and that you hear sleigh bells during the night. :-)