What – and how – to celebrate at Christmas

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Nick Harmon

Contributing Writer

It’s getting cold. The days are growing shorter, darker, cloudier, gloomier. The plants have died, the trees are bare, the animals have gone into hiding. Snow will come to most places, and the only color left in the world is the rugged pine and fir of evergreen.

The year is dying. Why would we call this the most wonderful time of the year?

It is because we gave it to God. We chose the winter solstice, our darkest time, to celebrate the birth of Christ so we could keep the year alive. Because of Christ’s coming, we don’t have to live in darkness. We can hang wintergreen in our homes, we can sing, we can light candles and set Christmas lights outside to drive the dark away.

Because Christ is born, there is much to celebrate: So drink your Irish cream, your peppermint schnapps, your rum cider. Feast on roast beef, ham and turkey. Break out the baking supplies and make the pies, the puddings, the gingerbread! And most importantly, the cookies!

Get the fire roaring, make the hot chocolate. And for goodness’ sake, let yourself be moved to go outside, chop down a tree and put it in your living room! Don’t be like the sad and hopeless who substitute fake plastic trees for real trees. That is not in the spirit of Christmas. It lacks grittiness, it lacks cheerfulness, it lacks liveliness … even dignity.

Beautify your tree with colorful ornaments, lights and angels. Fill your house with Christmas music. Listen to the classics like “Silent Night,” “What Child is This?” and “O Holy Night,” as well as traditional American Christmas carols like “The Cherry Tree Carol,” “Wondrous Love” and “Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head.” Make your Advent wreaths and nativity scenes and pray and sing on these cold winter nights. Meditate on the birth of Christ and be glad that he takes the darkness away.

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