My dad once said something interesting about religious holidays. He said that Christians have our celebrations backwards. He wasn't talking about the rampant materialism of Christmas, or the flavorless pastel sweetness of Easter (though he is plenty bothered by both of those). He was talking about the actual religious services that go with these.
Have you ever been to a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day church service? We sing joyous hymns, everyone wears bright colors, the church is sparkling and bristling with twinkle lights, holly wreaths, and glittering Christmas trees.
Have you ever been to a Black Friday or Easter church service? The Black Friday service is more depressing than an actual funeral, often lit only by candlelight in a sanctuary draped with black cloth. Even the Easter services, celebratory as they are, are decorated with lilies, flowers that are traditionally used in funeral or memorial services. Yes, we use the flowers of death to celebrate the gift of life.
My dad said that Christmas should be the sad, somber day. Christmas is the day that Christ gave up His divinity* and became Man. Christmas is the day that His days became numbered. Christmas is the day that He began His walk to the cross, the day that our sin was so great that God Himself was forced to leave His kingdom and enter the Hell we had created just so that He could save us from ourselves.
Easter, on the other hand, is the day that all of that ended. Easter is the day that Christ was able to shed His physical form and ascend once more to His rightful place at the Father's side. Even Good Friday should be a day of rejoicing, for it is the day that "it was finished".
But there's just something about Christmas. I think Vienna Teng expressed it best in the first line of her "Atheist Christmas Carol": It's the season of grace coming out of the void. Even atheists get it: there's just something about Christmas.
And i know that everyone always says that we should keep the Christmas spirit going all year long. I agree. I hate that we go into this goodwill frenzy from November 25th through December 26th, and the rest of the year we look out for number one. But somehow, other priorities always seem to assert themselves, and we think that we can make up for it during the Christmas season. So go ahead and get all frenzied and joyful and spend way too much money on other people. Just for once. Because there's something about Christmas.
So this year, i hope no one is reading this. This year, i hope you're all with loved ones, celebrating traditions and peace and love. This year, i hope everyone sacrificed a little to give someone something that they really needed. Or even just something they really wanted. Or even just a necktie. This year, i hope that everyone knows that someone loves them. This year, i hope we celebrate with enough tinsel and glitter to keep Ke$ha supplied for life.
Because there's just something about Christmas.
*Yes, Christ was fully God even while He was on Earth. But He was also fully man. We can have a debate about this if you want, but it ends up being like the old "Can God make a rock big enough that even He can't lift it" question. The point is, Christ made sacrifices to walk among us.