A Stone's Throw: Holiday reflections


Betty Stone



Well, we are now in that festive season as Christmas approaches. It is a season of strange and swinging emotions. Primarily a Christian holiday, borrowed to be sure from the Roman Saturnalia, the name itself attaches it to a specific religion. Although we speak often of "keeping the Christ in Christmas" and repeatedly insist that "Jesus is the reason for the season," we have made it so much fun that the Jews get in on the action by making ancient Hanukkah merry, and more recently African Americans celebrate Kwanzaa. Everybody wants to have a good time, it appears. 


Not only do we gobble down good cheer with the turkeys, we want others to be able to jubilate as well. We contribute money for those financially deprived, maybe not enough, but we try. Television abounds with stories calculated to make people feel warm and fuzzy during the holy-days. 


Don't get me wrong here. I am not being cynical at all. I think it is good for us to have something big to celebrate. This is a difficult, hard old world to live in sometimes. It is good for us to rejoice, albeit sometimes requiring a lot of effort and making us work really hard to "look the part" with trees and tinsel, lights, wrapped gifts and "'good will to all," if we can bring it off. 


I think one of the reasons we try so hard is that we need it so much. Read the news in the paper or on whatever device you use, or watch plain old TV, and you are just covered up with cynicism, crime and chaos. Shootings happen more frequently than rain in our recent drought. On occasion we long for refreshing rain but get a stormy reign of shootings, distrust, opposing views. We desperately need to be able to celebrate for the sake of our psyches. It is especially good for us when we can sincerely espouse the cause as well. Life can be so full of problems, we need the cheer as treatment. 


There is a dark side to the celebration, a serpent in the garden, so to speak. Whatever the season, life goes on. People get sick. Some die. Houses burn down. Tornadoes flail the countryside. When tragedies happen during a season of joy, sometimes it hurts even more. I know. I know you know, too. In my family we have had deaths, strokes, dire diagnoses and surgeries at those times when everyone else seems so happy.  


When tragedies happen on a holiday, that holiday is scarred. We think of the birth of the Christ child. We also have to know the massacre of the innocents that followed. 


There are people walking around during this jubilant season who feel as if they are in a bubble, wistfully looking out at the normal people living normal lives. It is to them that I want to extend the warmest of wishes this year. I know especially of some. There is a quotation from the Bible that speaks of joy coming in the morning. 


My Christmas greeting wish to all my readers and beyond is that Christmas morning will dawn for you and yours with joy that extends beyond any suffering or problems well into the New Year, too. Happy holidays! 


Betty Boyls Stone is a freelance writer, who grew up in and lives in Columbus.


Betty Boyls Stone is a freelance writer, who grew up in Columbus.


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