There’s something magical about Christmas time, but I must confess that I don’t know precisely what that is. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, a time when miracles can happen. How is this possible, you ask? “It’s Christmas!” is all the explanation you’re likely to receive.
In a few years, I have no doubt, the Christmas season will commence on December 26, but it doesn’t get into full swing until one or two weeks before the big day. Most people at least wait until after Thanksgiving—when they are most thankful for many, many things to someone or something unidentified—before putting up their Christmas decorations. People take off work only a few days before Christmas itself.
The big day is the culmination of the whole season but traditionally kept low-key. The assembled family gathers in the morning around the Christmas tree to unwrap presents, spends the afternoon enjoying their presents or on some other diversion, and in the evening sits around the dinner table to enjoy a hearty meal before retiring for the night. In Jesusland, a church service is generally involved.
The spirit of Christmas, near as I can discern, consists of three things in descending order of importance: generosity, family, and good cheer. Gift giving is mandatory, especially where children are concerned: it’s a crime against humanity for a child to not get presents on Christmas. Christmas is also the one time of the year when families spread across the country to spend time together. Good cheer is necessary, firstly to make feigning excitement and gratitude at your gifts easier, secondly to make time with the relatives tolerable, and most importantly because IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!
Christmas isn’t about anything; it’s a holiday, a celebration for celebration’s sake. There are a few others throughout the year: New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, the 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving. Each has its own theme and tradition, but the main point is celebration. This is most clear with the newest of these holidays, Cinco de Mayo. It’s not even an American holiday, but it’s been adopted simply as another excuse to get drunk. As though Americans need any more such excuses.
Still, there’s supposed to be something magical about Christmas. We have the term “Christmas miracle,” after all. But there’s no reason for this magic; it’s just there. Take, for instance, the Twilight Zone episode “The Night of the Meek” (Season 2, Episode 11). The episode is about a drunkard mall Santa who finds a magical sack that produces the perfect Christmas gift for everyone he meets. He then goes around town distributing these gifts and finally rides off on a reindeer sleigh into the night. Rod Serling closes out, telling us, “There’s a wondrous magic to Christmas,” but he doesn’t elaborate on whence this magic comes.
Perhaps we should cut Rod some slack, seeing as a Christian worldview informs so much of the Twilight Zone. One of the main points of the show was to contrast the real world, at least as understood by the audience, and the Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone is not a dark mirror per se, but one that still works differently from our own. It shows us how things could have been and teaches us to appreciate what we have.
Christmas isn’t about anything because nothing is truly taken seriously anymore, or at least nothing with any tradition behind it. Nativity scenes are less mandatory than shopping sprees leading up to the day commemorating the birth of Jesus. On Halloween, one may dress up as the literal embodiment of Evil in Christianity, but a Nazi costume is verboten. More people care about Star Wars Day than Easter. Not even black people care about Black History Month. The past is something to be extirpated not revered.
I haven’t seen Krampus yet, but I hear good things about it, and I like the premise. It’s not just the Teutonophile in me happy to see Germanic folklore well-treated. In America today, if a child is naughty, then they’re supposed to get coal for Christmas instead of presents. Leaving aside that this never actually happens, it’s only a serious punishment to spoiled and entitled brats. The threat that a horned demon will drag misbehaving children to Hell is much more terrifying. I know I’d have behaved better had that sword been hanging over my neck.
Fear, far from being the path to the Dark Side, is vital to a complete life. Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of disappointing others, fear of punishment for doing wrong; all of these fears motivate people. Without them, life is simply about doing whatever you want to do. Fear regulates behavior and impresses the importance of obligations. Freedom from fear is another description of license.
Krampus notwithstanding, Christmas isn’t the proper time to be afraid. After all, it’s the anniversary of the son of God’s birth, the one who will redeem mankind. I’m not a Christian myself, but this certainly seems like something Christians at least should celebrate. But when should we be afraid? Halloween, when neighborhood kids dress up in ridiculous costumes and run around to collect candy? (They say “Trick or treat!” but if you give them a trick, their parents call the cops.) We have just survived the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, when dark forces are at their strongest, but the only people who care about it are neo-pagans and H.P. Lovecraft fans.
A genuinely magical Christmas is predicated on a worldview that imbues the day with special significance. As far as Leftism is concerned, there’s nothing to celebrate, just the oppression of non-believers by those evil Christians throughout history. The more anodyne the holiday, in the Left’s book, the better.
If we are to celebrate Christmas, let us actually celebrate something. Christians can celebrate the birth of Jesus; pagans can celebrate the passing of the solstice; Lovecraftians can celebrate tentacled horror or whatever. The rest of us can commemorate the crowning of Charlemagne and of Baldwin I. Whatever you celebrate, celebrate it and not nothing. Make sure your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, et al. know what they’re doing as well. Alas, neither Krampus nor Nyarlathotep nor any silly Christmas movie are teaching them the true meaning of Christmas, so it’s up to you.