These days, one couldn’t be faulted for doubting the existence of the Christmas spirit.
The world can be a cynical place and our 24-hour news cycles speak volumes about the failings of mankind. We’re inundated with reports of the cruelty that the world inflicts upon itself and the dishonesty, hatred and avarice in the hearts of some that drive those events.
But Christmas has a unique power to counter all that negativity and, although we might be at a loss to explain its nature, we’d be fools to deny it.
Take the young, single mother featured in today’s paper. She’s found a home in Sooke and although she faces daily difficulties in her life, Christmas has brought her a sense of peace. She described how the community has embraced her family and how her children have, in turn, been moved this Christmas to share their own toys with those who are even less fortunate.
And, certainly, Sooke’s spirit has been on full display, not only in their support of this one family, but in the overwhelming response to food drives and charity initiatives and in the cheery greetings shouted across parking lots and the smiles on the faces of children as they prepare for Christmas concerts and anticipate Santa’s arrival.
So what is the Christmas spirit? The truth, we believe, is quite simple.
People are basically good. In their hearts, most people still believe that good will always triumph over evil and that generosity, kindness and love will always survive. They believe these things in the face of all evidence to the contrary because those beliefs are important; perhaps the most important beliefs of all.
And this understanding of the Christmas spirit is not a new revelation.
In 1897, the editors of the New York Sun responded to eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter asking if there was a Santa Claus with the now famous response, “yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”.
They went on to say that without Santa, there would be no childlike faith, no poetry, and no romance. They said that the “most real things in the world are those that neither children or men can see”.
Christmas (and yes, Santa) remind of those truths and inspire us to renew our faith in the light of goodness and of what is truly important to the world.
That said, we wish you a peaceful holiday filled with the best of the Christmas spirit.