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Beth Underwood: It’s time for us all to set aside life’s troubles and embrace the true spirit of the holidays

Here we are once again, smack dab in that most wonderful time of the year. T-minus a few days until the big day. Yet it seems like a lot of people have lost touch with their Christmas spirit. They’ve lost their sense of wonder and faith in humanity — like that whole peace on earth, goodwill toward men thing is nothing more than the words to an old song.

It’s as if many of us — dare I say it — have stopped believing.

We lament the commercialism of Christmas, while inadvertently buying into it (no pun intended). We blame our stress on the season itself, as we rack up debt under the guise that more is better. We place unrealistic expectations on ourselves and each other on the ultimate quest to recreate the last five minutes of a Hallmark Christmas movie. (No offense to all the Hallmark Christmas movies. You’re still my jam.)

We make bold statements like, “I can’t wait until Christmas is over,” or worse, “Christmas is for kids.” (Gulp.)

It’s easy to become a cynic, I suppose. The fact that Christmas has become no more than a nuisance for many is a frightening notion, but no real surprise. If we pay any attention to the nightly news, which isn’t something I recommend, we’re told we live in an age where human civility ebbs at an all-time low. Songs like Jingle Bells and Oh Holy Night somehow offend delicate ears. Need proof? Check out the comments below any well-read news story or social media post. (Or save your sanity and trust me on this one.)

To be sure, life can seem pretty bleak from time to time. That we need a little Christmas is an easy argument to make. But what are we willing to do about it? Are we willing to suspend our doubts to revive a little Christmas magic — willing to employ a little faith?

I’d like to think so. Heaven forbid we all end up in the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol (which I’d like to point out is probably the scariest Christmas movie in the history of ever).

It’s not like I’m asking you to believe in Santa, either (although there are worse things in the world. I’m just saying.) And it doesn’t matter whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or the winter solstice, or whether your greetings begin with merry or happy or ho, ho, ho. The spirit of the season is all around us.

I’m merely suggesting that it’s time to suspend our stinkin’ thinkin’ — time to rediscover our own sense of childlike wonder and awaken the best part of ourselves, regardless of who we are.

It’s time to believe again.

Beth Underwood is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. She shares stories of everyday life that entertain, inspire, and encourage others. Her books include Gravity, a narrative nonfiction account of a small group of Tennessee National Guardsmen, and Talk Bourbon to Me, a lighthearted look at Kentucky’s native spirit. Drop her a line at beth@bethwrightunderwood.com, or visit her website at bethwrightunderwood.com.

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  1. NikiDee says:

    Totally agree Beth! This has been a particularly blah year. I’ve given anyone within earshot my very best Merry Christmas and more than half of them look shocked… then manage to mumble out a “Happy Holidays” or something resembling that. When did Christmas become a negative??!! Merry Christmas!!

  2. Carol Howard says:

    Your comments Beth are so true. Somehow we have made Christmas into a rush for gifts and fa la la la. We approach Christmas as we would an attack. Mad rushes to say, “Is this fun or what?”
    Pushing crowds and angry people rushing like Lemmings to the count down. Where is Jesus in this? Isn’t it His Birthday?
    When I was a child our family and friends went Christmas Carolling and later we had hot chocolate and sang Christmas songs by the piano. Glorious Christmas times. A few gifts and MaMa’s pralines. Times cherished and times gone by. Do you suppose we could go backwards in time just to save Christmas?

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