“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” These words from the 1822 poem titled A Visit from St. Nicholas but known by most as The Night before Christmas bring to mind memories of good food, fellowship and family gatherings with bright eyed children. Although people have many different Christmas traditions, there is something magical about this time of year. The music, the lights, the food, and the anticipation bring out the kid in all of us. If there is a time of year when people are inspired to be generous and kind, it is without a doubt the Christmas season. Perhaps one of the most poignant examples of the power of goodwill at Christmas time is the spontaneous truce which erupted on Christmas Eve and carried through Christmas Day in the trenches during World War I in 1914. The war was barely four months old but already hundreds of thousands lay dead. But that Christmas Eve something happened. Candle lit Christmas trees poked out of trenches and soon Christmas carols, notably Silent Night, were being sung by soldiers in English and German. In the midst of war, the Prince of Peace was making his presence felt. The hostilities ceased and both sides helped each other bury their dead. For a brief moment in time the true spirit of Christmas prevailed. If the true spirit of Christmas can break out in the trenches of World War I then it can break out anywhere. Let’s all do our part to make this the most wonderful time of the year!
If you are like me, you dislike the fact that Christmas, which is supposed to be a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, has become more about commercialism than about a time of goodwill and giving. I would encourage everyone to take the time this Christmas season to pause and view the world through the eyes of a child. Remember the wonder and the excitement you felt as a child at the most wonderful time of the year. I think we need to gain some perspective on what Christmas is really about. Let’s all take some time this Christmas season to cut through the hype and the commercialism (and the politically correct “Happy Holidays”) and remember the true meaning of Christmas. Just as the soldiers in the trenches in 1914 experienced the power of Christmas, I believe there are miracles just waiting to be discovered around any corner. Keep your eyes open and you just might experience one. Look for opportunities to reach out to others and bring a little joy into someone’s life. As you decorate your house think of what makes a house a home. I generally write about things you can do to your house to make it safer and more accessible. What I am talking about now is how to make it a home. It is the spirit and atmosphere within the house that makes it a home. The true spirit of Christmas is that sense of thankfulness for the gifts we have been given and the willingness to reach out and share them with others. I want to thank my readers for all of the kind comments I have received and wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! If you have questions about Housing Matters or have topics you would like to see discussed, you can reach me at (540) 384-2064 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.