Even if you are not a person of any faith, and have no idea how the word came to be, I’ll bet you enjoy the winter holidays. All the busyness and stress notwithstanding, I think we miss them at least a little when they’re gone. Maybe it’s because for a few days we share the feeling that something special — whatever that might mean to us — is about to happen.
For many folks, the holidays are, in fact, “holy.” Many of us believe that, 2,017 years ago, a special child was born. Many others believe that, 2,185 years ago, a jar of oil that should have lasted for just one day burned for eight. Other special days honor the culture and values of another continent. And we all share the hope that something good will come with the new year.
So beginning with Thanksgiving — or even before — we celebrate, even if we aren’t all celebrating for the same reason. We have days off, and we attend events — office parties, family gatherings, religious services — just because it’s that time of year.
Of course, the festivities are also about making or spending money, or, as the exhausted shopper in “Miracle on 34th Street” said, “the commoishal” (Brooklynese for “commercial”). Still, most of our purchases are for someone else, and the search for the perfect gift is one more thing that we have in common.
There really is no way to make that once-a-year feeling last — the sense that we’re all in the season together. In fact, it’s kind of sad to see dangling lights and wilted wreaths still on display when summer rolls around. All we can do is enjoy these days while they last, and share them.
This year, South Floridians may experience the season with certain snowbirds in unexpected ways. My mother and I enjoyed the children’s pageant at our church on Christmas Eve. The president and his wife attended a later service and, I understand, were greeted with cheers by the congregation. If I had stayed for that service, I think I would have murmured a quiet, “Welcome to the celebration,” and, to all of us, whether present in that place or somewhere else, “God bless us, God bless us every one.” All year-round.
ANGELA GRANT, LAKE CLARKE SHORES
All we can do is enjoy these days while they last, and share them.