I have always believed in the promise of Christmas. There is something very special, wonderful, even magical (in the best use of that word) at this time of year. And that goes back to my earliest childhood.
With Christmas, we have a sense of wonder, beauty, and anticipation. We look forward to being with loved ones, family and friends, and eating incredible food. It is a wonderful time of the year. It is also a time that is marked, for the most part, by an absence of meanness. There is a kindness that people will demonstrate toward one another, even strangers.
But here is the question: Does Christmas really deliver on its promises? It does sometimes—a little bit here and a little bit there. But for the most part, Christmas doesn't really deliver. In fact, what it does deliver is a lot of difficulty. If you are a man, your blood pressure will go up dramatically at this time of the year. A study was done by a British psychologist who found that Christmas shopping is actually hazardous for men's health, due to its elevating effects on blood pressure. The same study also revealed that women's blood pressure remained unaffected by the holiday shopping ritual.
So what is Christmas at its worst? It is a crass, commercial, empty, exhausting, and very expensive event that drags on for months at a time. And what is Christmas at its best? It is a glimpse of something that is coming: the beauty . . . the wonderful music . . . the adoring angels . . . the love . . . the warmth . . . the promise . . . the hope. Because when you get down to it, Christmas is a promise. It is a promise of things to come.