A new chance for us

From my perspective, November 1 should be a national holiday: the start of the Christmas season. Red cups come out of hibernation at Starbucks, Halloween decorations make way for Christmas decorations at Meijer, and my tree and ornaments escape their cramped closet confines for the total freedom of a tabletop.

People often question this borderline-obsessive love of Christmas. Aside from the accountants at major retail chains, not many people share my eagerness to start the season. It’s sometimes hard to explain what drives this desire in me. It’s certainly not getting “things,” though that’s nice. It’s certainly not the arrival of cold weather, though that’s sometimes nice. It’s certainly not the hustle and bustle of making plans and finishing tasks, though… well, no, that’s never nice.

When I do find a good way to explain my irrational love for Christmas to people, I point to the Christmas truce of 1914. This story has come to the cultural forefront this week with the release of an ad from British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s that celebrates the 100th anniversary of this event. In short, for one day, British and German soldiers across the Western Front laid down their arms and celebrated the holiday together.

To me, the truce embodies what Christmas is to me. It’s hope. It’s light. It’s seeing past what makes us different and looking to what makes us the same. It declares a truce over our world, calling for people of all races, ethnicities, genders, political parties, sexualities, and ages to stop the arguing, fighting, and yelling. In a world of ever-increasing hostility and division, Christmas lets us set aside “us vs. them” to create just “us.”

That’s why I can’t wait for Christmas each and every year: it symbolizes a new birth. A new chance: a new chance to heal the world; a new chance for “us.”

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