Christmas Eve brings together all the magic of the holiday season. The last-minute shopping completed, we ready our hearts for the special day anticipated since the beginning of December. All the plans have been made, the gifts wrapped and the baking completed.
And then the day comes…
Christmas has a number of benchmarks that have a subtle influence over all of our holiday activities, even though most of us do not recognize them as self-imposed standards of excellence. We compare our abilities to give gifts to our children. We determine who can make the best eggnog, send the most Christmas cards; even who has the greatest number of guests seated at the dinner table. We exchange Christmas letters that confirm that we have been blessed over the past year. Looking beyond individual endeavours, even the markets of the world calculate the effect of Christmas purchases on stock prices – toys, electronics, and clothes. Charitable organizations measure the amount of homeless that need to be fed and housed over Christmas. One day creates a generous amount of statistics.
Why is Christmas so extraordinary? Gifts are given at birthdays; love is celebrated on Valentine’s Day, rebirth at the Vernal Equinox. Perhaps it is because Christmas gives us three benchmarks that speak to the longing of all humanity. They are found in all traditions and have been embraced throughout history. These standards of excellence are set so high that only a global community can achieve them….collectively.
Joy to the World – for all creatures that live on our earth
Peace on Earth – for all of our wondrously diverse cultures and traditions.
Goodwill to mankind – for all to accept our responsibility to others; to cooperate, respect and participate.
“If you find that not many of the things you asked for have come, and not perhaps quite so many as sometimes, remember that this Christmas all over the world there are a terrible number of poor and starving people.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, Letters from Father Christmas