R. Gilley

The Confessions of a Good Man
2001-12-24 00:21:19 (UTC)


What is Christmas?

I have been toying around with this question. Among the
many other questions and thoughts that fill my head on an
average day, this one has found its way to the front of
the line. What does this holiday mean to me? What is the
central theme of this season that can be applied no matter
where you are, whom you are with, and what you believe? I
think I have figured it out. Christmas is about family.
Rather you believe that Christmas is the celebration of
the Christ child and the beginning of the holy family, or
the primal celebration of winter solstice where the whole
village came together and danced and feasted around a
blazing bonfire, or the Norman Rockwell painting of a
jolly old elf tumbling down a chimney to put presents
around a tree for little girls and boys to find in the
morning, Christmas is all about family. It is about coming

I have noticed a lot about family in my life. How it comes
together even though everything in life tries to pull it
apart. How even if family members absolutely despise the
other, they will come together in a crisis and be
together. Family is the strongest and most basic bond in

I have noticed a few things in my own families. In my
natural and adopted families, I have noticed how accepting
and loving people can be. It doesn’t matter if you are
Christian or Hindu, Republican or Democrat, black or
white, when you are family you are loved. Sometimes this
love is interrupted by the “issues” that seem so important
during an election year, but lose all importance in the
shadow of two large skyscrapers tumbling to the ground.

When the World Trade towers fell like a broken heart into
the city, it was family that got us through. The most
common response to the tragedy was “Where is my
children?” “Where are my wife and kids?” “Where is my
husband?” Only the bitter hearts started blaming and
accusing. The rest of the country found their families and
joined in a collective group-hug.

It is this kind of togetherness that makes Christmas what
it is. It isn’t so much the presents, isn’t the tree,
isn’t the ham and pie, it is what those things do. They
bring us together. They put us in a festive mood. For a
brief moment in time, it makes us ONE.