Is there a better time than Christmas? I think not. For those of us fortunate enough to remember Christmas as a feeling of warmth and joy produced by a loving family it simply does not get any better. The strength and confidence those feelings engender when times get rough often provide the difference between success or failure or even survival.
When we are tossed by the waves of ignorance or malice we can reach back to those times when love was not only requited but unconditional. Hot chocolate and Christmas carols shared with family and friends over the years provide an unshakable foundation when the world treats us cruelly or worse, indifferently.
As one who has often observed a parade of people whose Christmas experiences are of abuse and separation, I spend a lot of time thinking, “There but for fortune.” When I reflect on Christmas past my memories include generosity, security and sacrifice for others or for me. But generations of people who have been brought before me in court this time of year often reflect a profound hopelessness. Frequently they include children whose only sin was to be born into the wrong family.
I realize my thoughts are neither rare nor new. One does not have to be a judge to see great heartache or to empathize with those who live it. In fact, at Christmastime the very best in people often rises to the surface as giving to others increases greatly. We know, of course, we should act this way year-round. However, it is still better to do so now than never.
As for me I know I was simply lucky to be born into a family where Christmas Eve meant gathering at Grandma and Grandpa’s then singing carols with Mom, Dad, my sister and brothers on the way home before experiencing the joy and excitement of Christmas morning. That is the rock upon which much of my life has rested. I wish a similar foundation, regardless of one’s beliefs, were true for everyone.