What makes this time of year so special? We shiver in the cold; we sweat from overexertion. We stress over everything; we relax like we don’t do any other time of the year. We worship with passion; we party with the same passion. We love our family; we hate our family. No wonder we’re all crazy.
I think the fact we do all of this at the same time is the key to why the holidays mean so much. They give us a purpose we don’t have the rest of the year. That purpose may find us facing hoards at the mall even though too many people in too little space is one of our worst nightmares. But we’re there for the bigger picture: to get a gift that will bring a smile to someone we know. We hate standing in line at the post office only to find out it will cost more to mail the package than we paid for its contents; but how can you put a price on a piece of love tied with a bow? We drive in weather conditions that might usually keep us home; but the concert or Christmas show that got us out of our living room lounger creates a spark inside of us that keeps us warm all season.
What makes this time of year special? We do. We get outside our normal routines and build a new us for a few weeks. We open little pockets in our heart that weren’t open before or that stay closed the rest of the year. When we’re not with the crowd lamenting about how much everything cost and how little time there is, we are raising our heads above the clamor to look around and seek the good. We do this because one thing past holidays have taught us is that the good is always there: we’ve seen it in a hundred small ways during this season over the years. We experienced the magic as far back as Santa. We’ve listened to the tale of the very first Christmas and felt the awe and wonder. We’ve reached into our pockets and found a spare dollar for the Salvation Army bucket. We’ve had a total stranger tell us “Merry Christmas,” just because they felt like spreading a little cheer.
Christmas and holidays in general are a conscious effort on our part to seek out happiness—even if it’s only for a few hours. We put on rose-colored glasses long enough to gain a different perspective.
Christmas brings us crazy; but it also brings us hope.
–Genilee Swope Parente