My wife and I are members of a book club that calls itself the Monobrow Book Club (in contrast with a highbrow book club). Let’s face it – our book club is an excuse to get together every couple of months for a nice meal with good friends. Tonight was a book club night and, of course, the theme of the evening was the holidays.
We are a pretty eclectic group – some more religious than others, some Jewish, some first generation Americans and others from families that have been in America since before the revolution. And yet, we all enjoy coming together for a celebration with many traditional Christmas trimmings: the tree, the cookie cutters, even a Yorkshire pudding – all while listening to a playlist of Christmas songs.
While I wondered how this disparate group was so enjoying a Christmas celebration, it struck me that Christmas is not really the Christian holiday that I have always considered it to be – instead, it is a celebration of social circles: family, friends, acquaintances, …, out to the entire world.
We travel to celebrate with those closest to us, we enjoy the next circle, and the next, and so on all the way to “peace on earth, good will to all men.” Whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, or something else; a holiday period in which we all pause to appreciate one another is a treasured period.
Early tomorrow, my daughter will be traveling to join the rest of the family at home for Christmas. We know that we will not have too many years of just the nuclear family together – one year soon we will have one of the daughters choosing to join someone else for the Holidays, or perhaps one of them will invite a loved one to come with them to join us. Before too long, they will have Christmas celebrations with their own families. While we have these precious moments together, we will treasure what we have been so fortunate to enjoy.