The kid who has by now raced down the stairs — previously held back by the parental clock forbidding a descent to the living room until it was “time” — does not, you may be sure, know what’s doing in the world of politics today. He or she could care less about Donald Trump’s taking the oath of office to become president a little less than a month from now, or who’s in Trump’s Cabinet, or whether he’s advised by former Vice President Dick Cheney, who — no, we’re not taking the bait today. Merry Christmas, Mr. Cheney.
No, whether those kids are descending to a regular toy store, with grandparents sheepishly explaining that they couldn’t remember what Star Wars figures to get, so they got them all, or whether they’re coming in to a modest tree with gifts courtesy of the Salvation Army or a church drive, the world of American politics is not on their minds at all.
Which is why many of us wish we could trade places with them today, just for a bit.
Christmas true believers, be they Democrat or Republican or unaffiliated, would advice all those in the “we’ category to do just that. Imagine themselves as children and give up the political worries and fusses for 24 hours.
So when the kids finish with the ripping and the tearing and the installation of batteries, sit back, close your eyes, and drift away to the Christmases of your own past. Think of that favorite bicycle of 40 years ago. Smile a contented, nostalgic smile at your grandmother’s last Christmas with you all those years ago. Remember when the kids were satisfied with little windup toys, before, blessedly, the days when they complained they’d misplaced their tablets.
Yes, drift off. Don’t fall in to telling them how you didn’t even know what a tablet was at their ages, or all that. Just smile and close your eyes and give way to memory and to the goodness that is this day. You earned this, the chance to take the Polar Express, metaphorically speaking, to the station labeled “Escape.”
But certainly, we can’t make a whole day of it, in Escape. For those families blessed with abundance still need to devote part of Christmas, the most important holiday of all to Christians worldwide, to helping others in some way, be it a neighbor shut in by illness or a church in need of members to deliver presents or serve dinner to those in need. Yes, give a few of those Chrismas hours to others less fortunate, and even for those in modest circumstances themselves, it’s important to remember there are people who are even more in need.
Sure, it’s been a raucous year in America and the world, fueled most drastically by the U.S. presidential election. And even more than a month after the election, there remains much anger and discontent. But today — it’s OK to take today off, It’s healthy in fact. It’s good for the blood pressure — and the soul. For this is a day that celebrates pure goodness, and in the minds of religious people, a visitor of more than 2000 years ago who advocated peace and good will.
Yes, there’s the common ground today — not the common ground politicians talk about but don’t mean, but the real common ground, the feelings in heart and mind like compassion and love that are in us all, somehow, somewhere. That’s the ground to stand on today. Amen to that. Amen, indeed.
Unless you forgot batteries, in which case, we can’t help you.