Last night was Twelfth Night and I took down my Christmas tree. It was rather sad to do that. I enjoyed Christmas very much this year. There wasn’t any special reason for that. I didn’t do anything special this year, didn’t go any special place, didn’t go out for dinner—but Christmas was still special. It felt different.
That special feeling caused me to put the tree up early this year—on the last day of November. I turned the tree lights on every evening in December and enjoyed them being on. How can I explain this new attitude? I suppose it began with the change in my anti-war sentiments and that began long before the Christmas season. For years I have been against violence as a means of solving problems, but I never did much demonstrating against war. That didn’t seem quite right either. Recently, I’ve begun to have more understanding about that. The understanding stems from Mother Theresa’s statement about anti-war demonstrations. She is quoted as saying: I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.
In other words, in an anti war demonstration, both sides of the issue, pro-war and anti-war, are putting emphasis on the same thing—war. In that way, energy is placed on war. Much the same thing happens in the ongoing debate about gun control. Being pro-gun control or anti-gun control and being active on either side focuses energy on guns. The same can be said for other issues—drugs, for instance.
This year, my attitude regarding Christmas changed. Instead of concentrating on the things I didn’t like about the way we celebrate Christmas, I paid attention to the things I did like and enjoyed myself. I put decorations on the tree and added some new things to them. I brought in some good things to eat and experimented in creating a few others. I enjoyed the weather. I enjoyed the days. i enjoyed people. I enjoyed the peace, something we all claim to look for in the season of Christmas and so seldom achieve.
Looking back on the season from the advantage of retrospect, I think I’ve found a formula for an enjoyable Christmas. Maybe it’s a little more than that; maybe it’s a formula for a more enjoyable life.