What I Believe at Yuletide
Bah, humbug? Why… no, not at all….
I refuse to become embittered and cynical about Christmas and the Yule.
Too much real joy reaches out from the season, offering its blessings to anyone who will let it in. No single religion truly lays claim to the happiness and healing this annual celebration brings. The very acknowledgment made by Christians admonishing the culture at large to “Keep the Christ in Christmas,” actually serves as a reminder that Yuletide was once full of love and joy without the help of Christianity, and would still be so in a moment, if Christianity somehow magically vanished.
Yes, if Jehovah finally gave in to the prayers of his cruel Witnesses and suddenly revoked the license for celebrating the Nativity of his “son” in late December… “Poof!” – Little would be changed. We would still be crazed with love and anxiety, shopping for gifts to exchange with those dear to us. We’d still deck the halls with boughs and wreaths of evergreen and sprigs of mistletoe. We’d still lovingly erect and decorate our Yule trees with lights and tinsel. We’d still find carols and holiday music to sing, ancient and new. Stories would still be conjured for our children of the Old Man of the Yule who brings presents after midnight at this, the midnight of the year.
I believe it tragic that millions in our culture grow up deeply conflicted by the presence of this grand celebration, feeling that they are somehow shut out and denied its blessings due to the faith of their fathers as non-Christians. Tragic, yes, and even more so because of how unnecessary it is to see it that way. You see, whether they’d admit it or not, Christians celebrate two great festivals at this time of year concurrently: Christmas and the Yuletide….
“Yuletide” is simply everything that is left once you lift the Bethlehem/Holy Family motif out of Christmas… and that which is left happens to be quite a large part of what gives the season its appeal.
I believe that Christmas should belong to the Christians and I rejoice with them in their happiness, except where that happiness provides a surer foundation for self-righteousness and contempt for those who do not see the world as they do.
Yuletide? Yuletide belongs to everyone, regardless of their religion, and it’s up to each one of us to reconcile our personal beliefs with the great realm of Yuletide possibilities to make the season not just a happy one but a holy one too.
I bid you all a joyous and blessed Yuletide, however you celebrate it. I write these words in love and in the hope that little offence be taken by them, but rather, that someone, somewhere may be inspired to act upon them, thereby passing on this small light in the Dark of the Year. Our dreams we take with us to the grave, it is our deeds which survive us.
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