The holiday season regardless of your religious (or not) persuasions is supposed to be about peace, love and joy. Since the beginning of recorded history we read and hear about wine being an integral part of the season. After all at its most primal level this time of year is a celebration of the Winter Solstice and early records indicate the use of fermented beverages as part of the celebrations. Why not; intoxicants have the reputation of creating a euphoric mind-set and a reduction in inhibitions (make us much less stuffy).
As I sit, in my wine room with a glass of wine and contemplate this holiday season, I have many visions dancing in my head, many joyous, many thankful, some curious and some sad. Why has this become such a dizzying season and where has the relaxation gone. I wonder about the commercialization of the time but mostly I wonder what has become of us as a society that we can’t rejoice and celebrate each other, our many mutual blessings and yes even our differences. I was at a Rotary meeting last Wednesday and I greeted a Jewish friend who I have known for a very long time with “Happy Holidays”. He responded “and Happy Holidays to you as well” and then followed with in a not so joyous tone, but a smile on his face “after January 20th next year you will be able to just wish me a Merry Christmas and be politically correct again” Afer a pregnant pause we both laughed and I said “for some of us it will always be Happy Holidays”.
He offered his comment in a very humorous and non-judgmental way, but still it made me pause and question why we as a society have become so insular that we must only rejoice in our own traditions and not be able to rejoice in and embrace all the season’s traditions in recognition that, after all, in our differences we are all the same in the traditions of peace love and joy and it matters not, how we express them? I for one refuse to insulate myself in my own Christmas traditions, but rather just celebrate Christmas in recognition that we all (regardless of religious practices) remain part of a greater family of man. We are one in the season of joy, and better for all the diverse ways we celebrate the true meaning of love. As we all raise a glass of our favorite wine (or other beverage for those that prefer) to toast the season let us remember that individually we represent an insignificant speck of dust, ala Horton Hears a Who (Dr. Seuss for those that don’t remember) in this great universe of ours and that it takes all of us yelling in our own voices, traditions and languages “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me” for it to become a reality
Driving home from a store this afternoon after doing a little last-minute preparation for my families Christmas celebration I heard a very County song about a mans reflection on the large family holiday celebrations when he was a child and how he loved them and it followed with (to me) a sad refrain about the current Holiday being just him and his mother, as the rest of the family had all died or gone to the far corners of the earth. I thought about the sadness in the tone of the song and the message about how we as families have blown to the far corners of the earth and become so much more disconnected and distant. I believe that to a degree we all suffer from this feeling but being the Pollyanna I am I thought how luck he was that he could spend the holiday with his mother and what joy it must have brought her to have him home for Christmas. In this vein let us all reflect on the many children and seniors who will spend this holiday season alone, in group homes, on the street or alone in their own homes. Let us all be thankful for the families we still have, the friends we have made in our lives and reach out and give them all hug (even if only figuratively). After all that lonly person could be us you know.
This holiday season I am truly thankful for all my readers who I have come to consider my friends and all the many blessings I have. my health, my good fortune, my home, my family who will all be under Bonnie’s and my roof again this Christmas (yes it is Christmas in our house). As I will, I ask all of you and yours to consider your good fortunes and to raise you glass at your holiday table asking a special blessing for those in the world that cannot sit at your table and may not have a table but who all who still remain a member of our great and wonderful “Family of Man”
I close this post wishing you all a very joyous holiday season in the hope that you will find personal joy in your own individual celebrations, just as I am in mine.