So let it be written…
What is “Christmas Spirit?”
It’s not something you can put under a microscope, but hopefully we can arrive at an approximation of an answer by examining some of its basic elements.
First, we know when people don’t have it.
Three famous characters bereft of Christmas Spirit come to mind: The Devil, Scrooge, and the Grinch. Two out of three come around, in the end.
Christmas Spirit certainly has value, seeing as so many people, events and obstacles seem hell bent on taking it away from you in the days leading up to December 25th. You know, the guy who “steals” your parking spot; the shopper who nearly clips you in the head with her cart as you stoop to pick up some bananas you’ve accidentally dropped onto the grocery store floor…
Christmas Spirit is refreshing. Some people want to drink it. Oops, that’s Christmas spirits, isn’t it?
Christmas — let’s make no mistake about it— is a Christian holiday although pagans will tell you otherwise and some secular humanists do their level-best to minimize Christ’s role in it. They haven’t succeeded.
The modified term Xmas, which gets so many Christians’ goat, is perfectly orthodox despite many believing it to be part of a conspiracy to take Christ out of Christmas. Indeed, Xmas is not a sneaky, cynical modern invention but has been around for many hundreds of years. The X is actually a symbol for Christ. It’s the first letter of the Greek word Christos, which transliterated into the English alphabet, is X.
Who is Jesus Christ? It’s been said more children know who Ronald McDonald is. Nobody really knows on what day Christ was born, so December 25th is of course an arbitrary date. But the event is infinitely more important. As the famous author C.S. Lewis put it, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.”
Christian or not, a majority of people celebrate the hope that a newborn child brings to the world. We can all relate to that.
And so “Christmas Spirit” is infectious.
Last week I saw a press release entitled “Sikh organizations collect 3,000 toys for children in need this Christmas.”
In it Roveen Kandola, with Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen, explains that “Sikhs believe in ‘Sarbat Da Bhala,’ meaning caring for all. It’s important during the Christmas season to think of those less fortunate and make their Christmas much brighter.”
Does any other holiday in the world, religious or otherwise, stir as many hearts worldwide as does Christmas?
The power of “Christmas Spirit” is immense and sometimes manifests itself in the miraculous.
Consider the Christmas Truce of 1914, during the First World War.
More than 100,000 German and Allied soldiers lay down their guns, knives and bombs to share some “Christmas Spirit.”
The enemy suddenly wasn’t, if only for a brief time. They abandoned their trenches in Flanders to play games of soccer in No-Man’s Land, swapped what little rations they had and together sang carols like Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht, or Silent Night, Holy Night, around bonfires. The guns along more than two-thirds of the Western Front fell silent that Christmas Day.
Amazing. How bitter is must have been for the soldiers to start killing each other again. But for a few hours, “Christmas Spirit” was what it was all about, and hope and goodwill prevailed.
Funny how, like those soldiers, we don’t share these with one another all year round.
So, what is “Christmas Spirit?”
Something we should share, always.
So let it be done.
Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now. You can reach Tom via email at firstname.lastname@example.org