Every year, we hear the complaints about the relentless commercialization, the laments that Christmas is no longer a religious holiday but has become a religion in and of itself. Well, if you ask me, that's The Good News; that's something I can believe in.
Every Christmas, I look forward to watching Miracle on 34th Street and hearing skeptical little Susan / Natalie Wood mutter under her breath, "I believe, I believe, I know it's silly but I believe!" I've said the same thing myself a few times (and not just about Kris Kringle).
More than merely a childish sing-song, Susan's mantra offers the same perspective of near-belief as the half-doubting, faintly hoping father in the New Testament who cries out: "I believe. Help thou mine unbelief." Those who are fans of John Irving's novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany, will recognize this verse from Owen's funeral. Pastor Merrill reads aloud the entire passage (Mark 9:14-24), concluding in his grief: "Owen Meany helped my 'unbelief'" (566).
Believing in the face of your own unbelief, believing when it seems silly. I think I can believe in both of those things. And I can believe in Christmas!
As Kermit The Frog and John Denver sing on one of the best Christmas CDs ever (John Denver & The Muppets: A Christmas Together, 1979):
I don't know if you believe in Christmas
Or if you have presents underneath the Christmas tree
But if you believe in love, that will be more than enough
For you to come and celebrate with me . . .
For the truth that binds us all together
I would like to say a simple prayer
That at this special time you will have true peace of mind
And love to last throughout the coming year . . .
from "The Christmas Wish"
Music & lyrics by Dan Wheetman
A FEW OTHER THINGS THAT I CAN BELIEVE IN:
Puttering as a Spiritual Practice (see Anne Lamott, Plan B, 149)
The Miracle of Oxygen
The Precession of the Equinoxes
The Lifelong Quest for Truth & Beauty
The Pursuit of Knowledge
The Great Conversation
The Origin and Destiny of Cats
I believe . . . I think I am; therefore, I think I am . . .
FOR MORE ON PASSION & BELIEF
SEE MY FORTNIGHTLY BLOG
DECEMBER 14th: "Three Passions"
KITTI CARRIKER: A FORTNIGHTLY LITERARY BLOG
OF CONNECTION & COINCIDENCE