The Gracious Time
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit date stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.
by William Shakespeare
In this day and age we have hundreds of critics scoffing our Christmas celebrations and debasing our traditions because we are supposedly neglecting the people who are really the neediest. We are said to be a materialist and consumerist society. But the gifts of Christmas does not take away from our ability to give to the indigent…it increases it.
Christmas is a prime time for buying gifts, and, in the long run, this is one of the best things that can happen for the world. We sell and buy, and thus feed the food chain. Without the boost that Christmas retail gives our capitalist economy, we wouldn't be able to send the three hundred billion dollars overseas that we do each year. Without this economical protein, we wouldn't be able to provide for the soldiers who are overseas protecting the poor in third-world countries. With one Christmas in which we didn't buy presents for one another, many of the upper class businesses would be on the downslide, trickle-down economics would influence the middle class, and the lower class would end up losing jobs and homes, and everyone would be in such financial straits that the charitable contributions we make each year would be dismissed in order to earn our bread-and-butter.
Not only would this drastic change take place, the spiritual state of our country, as degraded as it is, would become even more dark. Christmas provides an opportunity where everyone looks outside their selves and focuses on others. We are forced to think about what those closest to us need, to open our eyes to the potential happiness of others, to open our cheque books and spend our well-earned dollars in order to bless another. We decorate our houses as prettily as we can, we listen to comparably good, wholesome music for the first time in the year, so that our eyes and ears may be blessed with the lovely aesthetic of beauty and tradition. We watch movies like It's A Wonderful Life and White Christmas, we read books like A Christmas Carol, and smile as we are reminded once more what true loving-kindness means.
We invite one another over to our houses, we give our best hospitality, we prepare food that other people like and that has historical significance, we partake together in unity around a common table of fellowship. We experience a communion with people we may not like very much, but whose faults the spirit of Christmas has glazed over.
We embrace the traditions. We remember our ancestors. We dwell on many old spiritual relics, from the memory of the Christmas tree and the conversion of Ireland, to the stockings and the candles, the holly and the old stories of Saint Nicholas, Good King Wenceslas, and so many other patrons that are renowned for their generosity and kindness.
We resolve to be better people. We look forward to the future, and try our best to change the things that need to be changed in order to make that future brighter. Our discipline doesn't always hold through, but the thought counts.
And most of all, we celebrate the magnificent, terrifying, humble, beautiful, and righteous Baby, the second Adam who came into the world to free us from the chains of Satan, and split the darkness of the world with His first cry of life. We remember the Christmas Child, the Holy One. May God bless us, every one.