Wednesday, April 16, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Sleigh bells ring … are you listening?

By Mark Rollins

Christmas abounds with splendor and magic and can bring joy and meaning to everyone.

There is plenty to be joyous about for humanists, polytheists, atheists, Jews, Taoists, Sethians, Druids, people from the Low Church or the High Church, Eastern thinkers, Western thinkers, new thinkers, old thinkers, from the deeply devout of every religion to the questioners among us, and for the children and the teens inside and outside of us.

Humanity needs ceremony to celebrate all that is good about being human, to celebrate the great lofty spirit that lives in each and every one of us. Ritual brings all of our individual spirits together into one collective spirit, whether you are a Wise Man among us or the “village wisenheimer,” whether you are a cuddle bear or a curmudgeon, a Rhodes Scholar or a Simple Simon.

Sometimes it takes bigger-than-life, magical figures like Jesus Christ or Santa Claus to take us all to that state of communing spirit, but one doesn’t have to be a disciple or even believe in a deity to feel the magic of their fellow man in a way that lifts their spirit to the heavens above.

Christmas, our most lofty national holiday, which fills so many hearts with joy, just happened to be invented by Christians, but it could have been brought to us by any of a host other philosophies or disciplines. Instead of the Scriptures, it could have been inspired by a Kant, a Rousseau, a Hegel or the Clovis people or the Inuit Indians, for that matter. But that’s not the way it went.

Christmas stems from deeply profound religious ideals, but it also stands for profoundly simple ideas that everyone can understand and find inspiration from, no matter what their belief system is. After all, not many of us are raw to the idea of love, kindness, forgiveness, faithfulness, charity, gratitude or togetherness, which are the things that Christmas prompts us to think about and participate in.

Yes, even the sad sacks and Scrooges, and the wretches and Grinches of the world are forced to show their big heart, in the end.

So come all ye secular types and those with or without faith in the world, and applaud this grand ceremony that comes once a year to nudge our spirit into making a grand appearance and reminds us, so joyously and miraculously, of magical things larger than ourselves.

So, if you have had a hard time forgiving someone for a trespass, feel free to use the rites of Christmas as a venue to forgive that person, or if you have lost faith in someone or in yourself, please go ahead and use the power of Christmas spirit as the opportunity to renew that faith.

And if you need to celebrate the sublime, feel free to mingle your own personal faith with this majestic ceremony, which just happens to have been inspired by a bigger-than-life figure named Jesus, to renew your spirit, with love, forgiveness and generosity.

And if it seems like Christmas is taking all of the colors, the tastes, the smells, the imagery, the music, the magic and the festiveness for itself, you may be right. But you’re probably surrounded, so just go with the flow, go where the energy is, get wrapped up in your good will and become a part of it all.

Let Christmastime be the time for all faiths and views to come together and be joyful and triumphant and celebrate one another.

And if you need an incentive to get in touch with your inner child or your dramatic flair or your feminine side, go ahead, become part of the miracle and avail yourself of the Great Spectacle of Christmas to bring out your long-lost spontaneity, innocence and nurturing part of your soul.

So light up the night with some colored lights, sing some Christmas songs, enjoy your friends and family, indulge in a feast, light some candles and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “The Santa Claus” or “The Sound of Music” or “Jingle all the Way.” Just for laughs, grow a bushy white beard or put on elf shoes and tights or make a fruitcake.

If we need to “receive a king” to celebrate the human spirit, then so be it, and “let heaven and nature sing.”

And never forget the magic. … Are you listening? If you are, you just might hear 12 drummers drumming.

— Mark Rollins is a Davis resident.

Special to The Enterprise

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