Opinion

Honor the Christmas season with love and respect for each other

There is such sweetness in the air right now.  It drifts down, clinging to each individually designed snowflake, melts immediately upon making contact with pink cheeks and deep blue mittens, and then lingers for just a moment before it is replaced by another and another and another.  Everything mundane and familiar transforms into magic and sparkle. Debts are forgiven and packages wrapped in silver and gold shimmer in the shadow of colorful bursts of light. It is the queen of all seasons; the everlasting gift of hope in a world of floundering chaos.  It is Christmas once again.

When I was a little girl, our fragrant tree would make its way into our hearts and our living room no sooner than ten days before Dec. 25.  Christmas shopping itself was simple then; no door busters or Black Friday must-haves. Decorations and Christmas finery were placed in storage immediately after Christmas dinner, while frayed strands of tinsel would cling to rugs and walls, refusing to be discarded so soon.  We would examine our Christmas loot over and over again, wrapping bright Downy-scented, handmade scarves around our shoulders, acknowledging the love in every carefully woven stitch. We demanded so little and walked away with so much.

Today, we begin the festivities immediately after Halloween.  Witches and ghosts find themselves in the company of Santa Clauses and snowmen as we rapidly transition from scary to jolly.  We hurry through Thanksgiving and before the turkey cools, we are wrapped, lit, and ready to shine. Many are saddened by this contemporary Christmas holiday, and others, like me, see it a bit differently

We are aware that Christmas is not always the blissful time that I describe here; in fact, for many it is a time of intense sorrow and heartbreak. Santa hats, blow-up figurines, overly bright window displays, and rocking Christmas trees are not for everyone, for there is no dispute that Christmas is celebrated to the extreme.  I do not believe that one has to be a Christian to join in the festivities of this precious time. Extending love, trust, and respect for each other and the universe qualifies you as a candidate for honoring the Christmas season. The birth of Christ was the beginning of a kinder world for all of us, regardless of our chosen religion.  The arrival of this baby symbolized new hope for everyone. Some scholars believe we have chosen an incorrect date to celebrate his birth and that may very well be so; however, the accuracy of the date and the place are not concerning to me. I honor the man himself and his impact upon a wounded world. His teachings emphasized and clarified the virtues we now cherish.  Christmas is a “punch in the arm.” It is a reminder to be kinder, gentler, and more forgiving. It is the acknowledgement that we are not perfect, but we were given a perfect example to follow. And that, my friends, is the greatest gift of all.

Belinda Ouellette lives in Caribou with her Goldendoodle, Barney. You may email her at: barneydoodle34@gmail.com.

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