When I was a kid, I used to believe in Santa. Now that I have grown up, I don’t anymore, but I still want to. Because now I need to make up the stories that back then I took for granted. Otherwise the world becomes too small and narrow, too snowless.
We need Christmas because we need to ask ourselves whether it’s become a commercial holiday, an excuse to go on a gift-buying spree.
We need to worry about buying gifts for people we want to buy gifts for.
We need to expect snow, to long for it, to live without it when it doesn’t come.
We need to drape lights and garlands around our houses and plug them in so they will glow bright in the night.
We need to brace ourselves for family relations and put up with the odd family dinner.
We need to believe that there is something we need to believe in other than the usual, the ordinary, the normal.
And we need to ask ourselves whether we should really cut a tree to hang globes and garlands from its branches, or settle for a fake plastic tree.
I’m not sure I understand the “merry” part in Merry Christmas.
But Christmas brings a change of mood. It warms up people’s spirits.
We may not believe in Christmas, but then the good thing about Christmas is that it happens anyway every year, whether it snows or not.
Christmas is a whimsy certainty, and that makes it more than bearable, it makes it welcome.