Thank God for Christmas


It’s been one of those staggeringly fretful years. The air hasn’t been clear since the Great Recession began. Low visibility and human volatility have prevailed. There have been other years the equal of this one, but not so unrelievedly many in a row. Life’s been a little slushy, a little drizzly at times, cold and snowy, or too hot. We’ve found lots to complain about. It’s not been all bad of course, but wouldn’t it be nice to euthanize 2013 with a decorative white applique and a swelling of good will. It’s a characteristic ambition of this season, at least of the part of it with which we struggle, 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, all are amplified by Christmas, all touch us somewhere, and the stunning mix carries us deep into Christmas.

Death has claimed some wonderful neighbors, friends, and loved ones, some of them so young, their possibilities unrealized, some of them the cheeriest and most inspirational. Illness has flattened some of the good ones we depend on and reminded us of the head tides that bend our courses and the fair winds most of us nevertheless enjoy, but too often overlook.

This is the piercing moment of the year. Forget the glitter and the shopping and the overworn imagery — oh please, forget Michael Bolton’s screeching from the roof of that car he’s trying to sell. There is an ancient magic that is Christmas, that inspires good will among all. As it ever has, Christmas descales us and exposes 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 purée 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 a few days away, to remember what’s lost, to marvel at our good fortune, and to wish all of you — readers, customers, newsmakers, colleagues, neighbors, friends, critics — the merriest of Christmases.