Today is Christmas Eve. Many people are celebrating it by thronging the malls to make up for time lost in last weekend's blizzard. Many others are braving winter weather and crowded airports to visit distant relatives. Children are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Santa, and parents are obsessing over gifts that require "some assembly." Cakes and cookies are a-baking, radio stations are playing holiday music, and people are being polite to each other (except for disputes over parking places and ownership of the last gotta-have toy on the store shelf).
As the immortal Tom Lehrer croons in his song "A Christmas Carol" ...
At Christmas time you can't get sore,
Your fellow man you must adore,
There's time to rob him all the more,
The other three hundred and sixty-four...
In Congress this Christmas Eve, posturing buffoons of both parties seek to score cheap political points instead of working together to do the right thing for the nation.
Across the Middle East, peace and goodwill have long vanished, replaced by the certainty of the fanatic and the hatred of the infidel.
At AIG, many of the people who helped wreck the economy and yet received enormous bonuses have quietly ignored calls for those bonuses to be repaid...while unemployment is in the double digits and the savings of Real People have been looted.
Yes, it's hard to get into the Christmas spirit.
But, difficult as it is, it's good to remember that this is Christmas Eve, and that the Christmas season has a meaning beyond the gifts and trees and fruitcakes and sales at crowded malls...a meaning that can help us get past the rage and intolerance that mark so much of the modern world. That meaning is summarized in the second chapter of Luke from the Bible...
8: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9: And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12: And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Peace on earth, good will toward men.
Seven words that summarize the ideal of the season, and the differences that separate us.
This cartoon has been in my collection for many years, waiting for an appropriate opportunity to use it...
Keep that jar on the shelf and be ready to break it out as needed during the coming year. I have a feeling you'll need it.
On this currently white, soon to be rainy Christmas Eve, I wish all of you peace and goodwill.
Have a safe and happy holiday with those you love. More thoughts tomorrow.