One does not need to be of the Christian faith to appreciate the beauty of the Christmas story. As every parent will attest, the birth of a child is the birth of hope itself. It is a time of joy, a time to celebrate and look forward. And so, it is at Christmas as we rejoice the miracle of the baby born in a manger during a historical time of violent oppression and chaos. The birth signifies the beginning of renewed hope for the future.
Centuries before, early Europeans also celebrated in the darkest days of December. Their celebration was of ‘Light and Birth’ as they supported each other, and congregated together through winter solstice, until the light started to rise again on the horizon. It was a time when greenery was brought indoors, people stayed close, and the hearth-fires were kept burning.
This time of year is not too dissimilar today. As Nativities are assembled and trees are brought into the house, stockings expectantly hang, by real or virtual fireplaces, and candles flicker warmly. Hard thought-out gifts are exchanged, and traditional food is prepared and shared. While Christmas cards send good-tidings to far away friends, carolers sing, and stories are told and relived around the table between generations. It is a time to congregate; a time of togetherness, when both young and old are reminded of their roots and deep connections.
As years turn into centuries, and different cultural traditions converge and meld, it is the value of these connections that resonate and sustain families and communities. These are timeless values of love, family and friends, faith, charity toward others, and gratitude for the bounty one has, however meagre.
From our heart and hearth to yours; “Merry Christmas Everyone”