I am always entranced by Christmas and the season never fails to leave me feeling inspired and joyful. Some may say it is magical, while others feel it is spiritual. However each individual may view this special time, there are certain undeniable truths about Christmas. A child was born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago and that child would become a man who would profoundly affect the world throughout the ages.
And after all this time the ability of Christmas to inspire and provide hope for people has not weakened or diminished. In fact, I believe, the spirit of Christmas seems to have grown stronger.
It is evident in the demeanour of people during the holiday season. It is found in neighbourly behaviour and in the generosity often displayed during this time of year. People fill the winter darkness with bright lights and offer warm greetings to those they meet.
Christmas does not recognize racial differences or cultural variations. It has the ability to bring communities, regions and even nations together to set aside their conflicts, even if for a short while. No matter what religious or spiritual beliefs people may have, there is no denying that the advent season and Christmas seem to bring out the best in all of us.
I can think of no better example of this behavior than that exhibited on Christmas Eve in 1914 on the battlefields of Europe. There are many different accounts of what exactly happened, but there is no doubt that something miraculous occurred.
As the fighting abated and soldiers hunkered down in their trenches for the night, a lone German soldier began to sing Silent Night in a fine operatic tenor voice. It was said he sang first in German and then in English. The British soldiers responded by singing back. And then, without any orders from commanders, a truce occurred. There was a tacit understanding that on this most holy and reverent night differences would be set aside. The soldiers lay down their weapons and stepped out of the trenches. There are accounts of gifts of food and cigarettes being exchanged, and even a game of soccer was said to have been played.
On that night peace on earth and good will to man, indeed, had come to pass. War could not destroy the Christmas spirit. Instead the power of hope and faith in humanity shone as brightly as the Christmas star.
This is a season for hope and generosity and, even, miracles.
Merry Christmas to all my readers and may you be abundantly blessed in the new year.