Each year when the Christmas season begins, I vow to soak in as much goodwill as I can. Whether it is through hearing songs that transport me back to a time when I was little boy, or spending time with my family reminiscing about our past Christmases, or TV shows or movies that always touch me.
It is a melancholy feeling knowing that with each year’s joy of celebrating the holidays means one less year I will have in my life’s limited time clock to celebrate.
Which is why I overdo the celebrations each year, stretching myself to watch one more “Ozzie and Harriet” Christmas show, begin playing Christmas music a few days earlier into November, putting up the outdoor deer and sleigh on our front yard around Thanksgiving, going out one more night driving around blocks to capture the joy of the neighbor’s light displays, or keeping the Christmas tree up one more day to take in the pine smell, oxygen for the soul.
My wife and I recently bought a Countdown to Christmas decoration which requires us to place a toy Santa doll into each pocket of the month of December ending on the 25th. It seems just as soon we begin on Dec. 1 all of a sudden it is Dec. 21. Time goes by too fast.
I want to keep pushing a “pause” button so that I can continue baking cookies, listening to the music, visiting favorite restaurants decorated with colors and sounds, and spending time with friends and family.
At this time of year, I childishly hold on to the crazy idealistic belief that people of all kinds make an effort to be kinder towards strangers. There is only one human race. We have so much in common, why waste our time fighting one another as if we were from a different race?
As many songs say, why can’t this Christmas feeling stay with us the whole year through? Why do we accept ugly behavior for 11 months of the year, just to wait for one month to act human, to hold a door open for someone, to allow a driver ahead of us, to donate time or money for those less fortunate?
I just saw a piece on CBS’s Sunday Morning show where a wealthy benefactor visits impoverished neighborhoods to give $100 bills to those needy people. And what stood out to me wasn’t when the camera captured his handing out the money, but when he spoke kindly about a complete stranger, telling a mother how much a wonderful person she was to her children. That is when tears streamed down their faces as well as mine. The money was just an excuse to touch other people, reminding them that their lives matter, no matter who they are or how they live.
I wish I could soak in more stories like this one for it reminds us of how charitable we all can be towards others.
With January around the corner, however, we will have to wait again for December to see these stories that ring emotional bells within us; in other words, to feel humane.