Vail Daily’s view: Take a breath, Christmas cynics
Vail, CO, Colorado
It’s easy to be cynical about Christmas.
The national media ” and yes, this newspaper to a degree ” have for years used the Christmas season as an economic temperature reading. And the fact is the holiday is crassly commercial, especially in this country. (As an aside, the early Puritan settlers in Massachusetts kept their celebrations subdued, and Christmas was a work day in the early years of our republic.)
But hang on, cynics. Take a deep breath and consider this:
Christmas, and before it, winter solstice celebrations in northern latitudes, have for centuries given people a chance to ponder big-picture stuff, like the days getting longer, nature’s inevitable drive toward spring’s renewal, or, in the case of Christianity, new hope for mankind.
There’s a reason that early Christian missionaries in Europe aligned their celebration of Christ’s birth ” Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure, but we don’t know when he was born ” with the pagan celebrations. The themes of new life and new hope fit together nicely.
So today, about a third of the world’s population celebrates the first of its two most significant religious holidays.
But it doesn’t matter today whether you’re a Christian, a believer in another religion, or you don’t believe in the supernatural at all. The message in Luke 2:14, “and on earth peace, goodwill toward men,” means something specific to those who follow the Bible, and some religious thinkers’ stomachs turn a little sour when the phrase is used generically as a greeting.
But you know what? The nights are getting a little shorter every day. The snow is deep and fluffy. Sharing a little peace and goodwill isn’t such a bad thing, no matter what.
Merry Christmas, everyone.