You do know it’s almost Christmas, right? No, not really, and yet there are already decorations on Westheimer and I’m sure I saw Christmas paper next to the Halloween candy somewhere the other day. Why do they even bother to put it away in January?
I just feel like my life is kind of rushing headlong into seventy fast enough without help from commercial businesses, you know? Besides, I used to love Christmas–mostly thanks to my parents who made it special. I still do enjoy it but it’s like trying to eat two pints of Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. I could do it, but by the second pint even I would get tired of the sweet taste. All right, maybe not, but I should get tired of it by then. And I do get a little tired of all the Christmas glitter and glamor after almost three months. I can’t imagine what it’s like for some of you. I mean, I really like glitter and glamor–ballroom competitions and all, you know.
However, as a friend pointed out to me the other day, the part of Christmas I don’t get tired of is the non-commercial side, the let’s be nice to other people side, the how can we help the less fortunate side. It does encourage and support generosity of spirit that I wish we could leave out all year long. It seems like there’s an increase in empathy and a decrease in cynicism. Not for everyone, I know. The whole Christmas scene just makes some people angry–too commercial, too commercial, too commercial. That’s true of course but that’s not the whole story.
For some people, it’s like a signal (a big red and green sparkly signal) to remember. If they’re lucky like I am, they remember a time when December 25th was magical, but now they know that it’s not magical for all kids. For some kids it’s just another day of hunger, abuse, or neglect. So the signal reminds them of the magic and, for some, reminds them to do what they can for the kids who have no magic in their lives. Because Santa doesn’t always come.
I’m not advocating commercialism. I hate the “I want” part of the culture we live in, the need to acquire more and more things, often in an attempt to fill some hole we aren’t even aware of. But there’s a softness in the heart of children, an openness, that often hardens and closes much too soon, like scar tissue. I think any time we can create the magic of a miracle in a child’s life, especially a child who’s had way too few of those moments–any time we can do that, we give their soft little hearts another day.