To remember what’s lost and marvel at our good fortune


What to make of a year like this one? It’s been wearing, worrisome, and wildly contentious. We’re staggering to the finish line. There have been others the equal of this one, the one or two just before, for instance.

Life’s been a little snowy, a little slushy, a little drizzly at times, a downright mess at others. It’s not been all bad, of course, but while we’d like to euthanize the memory of 2008 and 2009, we’ve found our footing this year, and even the daily snow this week cheers us and reminds us of what good will is all about. Nevertheless, it’s a characteristic ambition of this season, at least of the part of it through which we slog on, dazed, to get to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, to want to have it all over.

The good and the bad, the wishes fulfilled and those dashed, the happy and the tragic, the admirable and the appalling — Christmas amplifies them all. Christmas touches us somewhere, and the stunning mix carries us deep into its heart.

Death has claimed some of the best of us, some of the cheeriest and most inspirational. Illness has flattened some of the good ones we depend upon and led us to reconsider the implacable currents that sweep away neighbors, and the fair winds most of us nevertheless enjoy.

Christmas is the piercing moment of the year. Forget the glitter and the shopping, and overworn imagery. If we are no more than sentient beings, the ancient magic of Christmas will, as it ever has, descale us and expose our lives to life itself.

Although this season especially brings the stew of existence to the boil, newspapers by nature are carried along daily in the toss of human events: births, deaths, tragedies, triumphs, fire, flood, politics, arguments, crabbiness, euphoria. We are exposed to it all. It’s the job, and thanks to you, a terrific job to have.

So this is the moment, with Christmas Eve tomorrow, to remember what’s lost, to marvel at our good fortune, and to wish all of you — readers, customers, newsmakers, neighbors, friends, critics — the merriest of Christmases.