Hate is such a strong word....
When I was little, Christmas was a big deal. As it always is. Sitting on Santa's lap. Making ornaments at school and learning Christmas songs. Watching the tree go up. The beautifully wrapped packages sitting under the tree.
And oh boy, Christmas day. As a girl, my sister and I would share a room of the house in which my grandparents lived. We had a deal, where, if one of us woke up early, we'd wake the other, and go spy to see if Santa was there. Then as we got older and she stopped believing in Santa, we simply ran to see if our presents were there yet. We'd go back to sleep and anxiously wait for dad to wake up so we could all open the presents. I loved getting older. I loved getting presents for my parents and siblings and grandparents and seeing the joy on their faces and feeling that happiness in my heart because I put it there.
As years went on, Christmas became less about me and more about others, as I think it does for everyone. Christmas became about giving. The weeks and days leading up to Christmas were and still are incredibly magical. I think a song puts it best when it says "It's that time of year when the world falls in love."
I didn't remember anything bad happening at Christmas. It seemed as if evil took a vacation too. And then last year the shooting happened, and so many beautiful young lights of life left this earth. And it seemed evil had won but it did not. The good in everyone after that time overcame the evil actions of one man.
And I felt that was what Christmas was. The world fell in love. Earth rejoiced because Christ was born, and in the years that followed, the decades, centuries, millennium that followed... The earth rang out with joy and love and people put down their differences to pick up love for one another.
The weeks before Christmas were full of love and giving. What can I give to others? What can I do to serve those who are in need?
And then Christmas day comes. The day that it was all building to. The love you feel, the warmth you feel in your hearts that far outweighs the warmth you feel by a fire. The joy you feel because you made someone else happy.
Have you noticed how people delay bad things happening because Christmas is coming? Not always, but sometimes. "Christmas is just around the corner, don't lay of Johnny yet." "Christmas is coming up, maybe we can put off the big fight that has been coming between me and my parents..." and so on...
So why does that all change the day after Christmas? I hate Christmas day, because that means it's the end. The last day of the good for a year. And the next day we stop thinking about others and start thinking about ourselves again. What can I do to benefit myself? What can I do to get ahead? Why is Christmas day the end of the good?
So I promote this: Make Christmas last year round. You don't have to keep up your tree. You don't have to buy presents constantly. But if we can delay the negative feelings and actions for a few weeks, then think maybe if they can be delayed permanently, year round.
Christmas day doesn't have to be the end of joy and happiness. It doesn't have to be the end of celebrating Christ. It doesn't have to be the end of letting the world fall in love.