To those who celebrate today: a Merry Christmas! To the many who do not, I wish you joy, for this is a month in which there are several holidays, all of them brightening what is a dark season in the northern hemisphere.
Whatever our faith, or lack thereof, we and our ancestors found merit in celebrating when the body ached from cold and the stomach mourned the lack of food. This suggests to me that human creatures have always understood the need for hope. What better way to demonstrate that than placing a time of celebration in the midst of a season most often connected with despair?
Being of a curmudgeonly nature, I often rant and grouse during the year about many things, but December is one time I choose optimism. My ancestors did not survive the Hebrides, Edward I, the Black Death, and the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands by being persistently bleak. We escape or endure because we remember how to hope.
So I raise a glass of wine on December 1st, throw all pretense of diet out the window for honey cake and toasted cheese sandwiches, stop daily to revel in the joys of doing what I love best and having good friends with whom to share life, and remember that laughter is, after all, the best survival technique. In January I may return to being a grump, but December is my month to exercise unrelenting hope.