As someone for whom neither the religious nor secular traditions of Christmas hold much relevance, one might be inclined to think I might be a bit of a Grinch.
I am not, however. In fact, this season has always been special to me.
The whole concept of Christmas appeals to the idealist in me. Despite the cynicism that often permeates most of the year, this small break, however short it may be, is an opportunity to channel optimism.
But for a time of year that is supposed to celebrate peace, goodwill and family, I find it unfortunate there is so much wrangling over ownership of the holiday.
For example, there is not and never has been a war against Christmas as some Christians believe.
And neo-pagans should not let their noses get out of joint over their traditions being “hijacked.”
In fact, the reality that Christmas encompasses so many different traditions, is emblematic of the its true spirit of inclusiveness.
To be fair, it is a time when most people, of all backgrounds and beliefs, do come together in the collective spirit of generosity, kindness and grace.
It is a time that reflects the best of humanity when more often we are reminded of the worst in us.
Living in that moment, feeling the love and goodwill, embracing the spirit is going to be challenging for many people this year, including myself.
I had planned on being in Lethbridge, Alta. to be with my grandchildren this year, but under the circumstances, it will be a solo Christmas for me.
I am neither fishing for sympathy nor an invitation (in good conscience I would feel obliged to decline anyway). And technically, I won’t actually be alone because I do have The Bug with me.
The only other time I ever spent Christmas alone was 1999 when I was living in Austin, TX. I was picking up my kids at Dallas-Fort Worth airport (DFW) early on Boxing Day so I spent the afternoon and night in the Sheraton DFW Airport Hotel.
If I am being honest, it was a soul-searching experience that was not entirely pleasant. Nor was it entirely unpleasant, however.
Self-reflection can be particularly enlightening in less than desirable circumstances and ultimately I was able to generate a great deal of gratitude out of it.
I’m sure this year will be no different and future Christmasses will be all the sweeter for it.
However you may be spending your holiday, may you find hope and peace and love and gratitude.