Thanksgiving is the beginning of my favorite time of year. The beginning of Christmas music and lights on houses. The beginning of Gingerbread Lattes and edible indulgences. The beginning of traditions as old as I am and nostalgia of years past. The beginning of family gatherings, welcomed snowstorms, and a sense of inevitable magic. The beginning of Christmastime. As hard as it is for me to believe, there are others who actually dread, or are at the very least apathetic to, this time of year. Maybe it's because they cannot afford the luxuries of the holidays. Or because they have nobody to spend them with. Maybe they don't have a home or a family. Maybe they lost their family. Whatever the reason, they just don't look forward to giving thanks and celebrating a time of year that is not so different to them than the other 11 months. This got me to thinking, why is this time of year so drastically different than any other? Some people may believe that this time of year is so prominent because it has been hyped up and commercialized by society. Our culture has definitely influenced the season but I don't think they deserve complete responsibility for this distinguished time of year. Don't get me wrong, I'm just as much of a sucker for Egg Nog, holiday movies, and Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song as the next guy, but I think the popularity of Christmastime is due to something else. It is due to an innate quality that has been around forever. During the season, you are invited to believe in the impossible. Think of all the joy believing in Santa Clause brought you. Sure, you could pass Mr. Kringle off as another one of societies manifestations of the holiday, but regardless of the material possessions he ultimately brought you, believing in St.Nick made an entire month magical. And even as we got older and discovered the unlikeliness of a man able to defy the laws of time and space, we still hold dear those Christmases when we did believe. When you are young, your beliefs are invincible. So, does it seem, is the consequential happiness. Why do we let that slip away with age? Who says we have to stop believing in something even though our logic tells us otherwise. Who says we cannot believe in the impossible? Isn't the whole religious principle based on belief. Belief in something for which you will never know the truth. Belief in something that defies what you can logically make sense of. Belief in, perhaps, the impossible. That being said, I seem to have failed to mention thus far the biggest contributor to this beloved CHRISTmas holiday. Regardless of your religious participation, those who celebrate Christmas are celebrating the birth of a figure who made life possible. A figure who has the potential to bring you so much more than Christmas presents if you just believe. And maybe there will come a day when our beliefs are proven wrong, but at least we'll have the memory of happiness that believing brought us. And, when it really comes down to it, your beliefs are the one thing that is really and truly yours. So you may believe as you wish for as long as you desire. And chances are you'll be a lot more happier at Christmastime and beyond. I realize this is all very easy for me to say as I sit in my cozy bed, drinking my red wine, typing on my personal computer...but I do know what it's like to stop believing for a moment. I know what it's like to have something happen that makes you question everything great you have ever believed in. This is probably the constant state of mind for some. For those without a roof over their head or food in their stomach. Those without family or friends. Those who have lost their job, their money, their health. But, if they choose to accept it, they do have their beliefs. And when you have your beliefs, anything is possible.
"You have everything you need if you just believe."
-Josh Groban, Believe (From the Polar Express)