What more can be said about Christmas?
Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, December 24, 2002
By By Lindsey Sherrill
There have been many times in the eight months since I began writing this column that I have struggled with its content. Often the struggle has been in finding the right subject. Other times it has been in finding the right words with which to express that subject. Today is one of those times when writing comes with difficulty. For once it isn't because I can't find a subject. There are plenty of social and political issues that I could tackle with gusto. The problem seems to be in the very significance of the day. What more can be said about Christmas than what has already been said? How can I go about writing of this holiday without sounding trite or cliched or worst of all, jaded?
I can picture you now as you're reading this. It's early Christmas morning. The kids haven't gotten up yet (how did you get so lucky this year? you wonder briefly). There is a hot cup of coffee beside you and the light from the tree is glowing in the corner. There should probably be a fire in the grate to complete the picture, but in this weather, who builds a fire?
Perhaps it isn't Christmas morning as you read this. Maybe you're reading this in the evening long after all of the day's rush has passed. It's bare beneath the tree now. The gifts have all been put away, the paper and ribbons cleared, and all the excitement of the morning has been replaced by a peaceful, happy stillness. But maybe "peaceful" and "happy" aren't quite the right adjectives. Perhaps a more fitting word would be "contented." After all, what more could you have asked for?
Or perhaps you aren't in either of the pictures above. Perhaps you are sick or alone this Christmas. You're reading this from a hospital room or a house that is quiet not with contentment, but with loneliness. You cry a little as you read. What kind of Christmas is this? you say to yourself.
As I was imagining the three scenes above, I realized something. No, there is not anything new that can be written or said about Christmas. Everything has been said. It was said to a young girl named Mary when an angel came to her. It was said to the wise men by a star. It was said by a host of angels to some poor shepherds outside of a little town called Bethlehem. And, whether you are part of the joyous or the lonely scenes I mentioned, it has been said to you, those words which overshadow anything anyone else could say about Christmas:
"'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men'."