Christmas, wrote Alexander Smith, “is the day that holds all time together.”
Poetry? Theology? Psychology? What would the world – humanity– be without Christmas?
Still, there are those who do not believe in the story of the First Christmas or who prefer to forget the magic of the last one. Among the hard-core non-Christmas believers was a journalist who looked down on us Christmas fans as children or, worse, mindless adults. Asked what he and his kind did with their Christmas gifts, he replied, “You believe, you give. I don’t believe, but when you give, I receive.”
To nonbelievers like him, it’s a matter of being swept along by the tide of the believing majority, to be tentatively caught up in the spell and then, as an afterthought, to maintain a cool if respectable distance, without losing a beat. They don’t exchange “Merry Christmas!” greetings. They don’t fall for the shopping, wrapping, delivering trap. But we can be sure they sympathize with the rest of us in praying for the brethren for whom an Odette-ravaged Christmas was, is, will be as dramatically traumatizing as nothing they have experienced before.
To the candidates seeking a position in 2022 to serve their fellowmen, think again. There’s time to pull out of the race. In the wake of the carnage left by Odette, do you suppose you can work for the next six years to soften the impact of climate change and a pandemic with humongous health and economic aftermaths? The world’s weather will not move backward, it will only accelerate, speed toward more extreme temperatures, worsening pollution, food shortages, not to mention the threat of another health crisis. Population figures will move up without a commensurate increase in opportunities to produce higher IQ scores, create more satisfying jobs, improve the quality of life.
Candidates, be candid. Odette and Corona are eye-openers.
My Christmas wish for all, quoting R.L. Stevenson:
I will make you brooches and toys for your delight
Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night.
I will make a palace fit for you and me
Of green days in forests and blue days at sea.
I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your room,
Where white flows the river and bright blows the broom.