Think I’m exaggerating? Fine. You try to make it all the way through Vince Gill’s Let There be Peace on Earth dry-eyed. Go ahead, I dare you — just don’t try it in public, since it may not go well. Unless you’re an icicle, you’ll grab a Kleenex long before the song’s over. Shoot, real softies will be lucky if they don’t let out a snuffle or whimper. Honestly, they’re all tearjerkers: O Holy Night and Ave Maria, Do You Hear What I Hear, Little Drummer Boy, Adeste Fidelis, I Believe in Father Christmas, the whole bunch.
Now, I’ve heard these songs a million times over the course of my life, but they never made me sad. Until this year. This year is different. This year has been an especially cruel one for hope. Bullying and intolerance are in the ascendant, while basic kindness is disappearing as quickly as sea ice.
The difference between the promise offered in Christmas music and stark reality is beyond distressing. The gulf between the two is seemingly unbridgeable. And I think that’s tragic. Plus, I’m tired of being condemned for being poor and having my nose rubbed in the incivility of our age — the animosity is tiresome.
So could we, please, call a truce? Just for the holidays? Let’s take a few days to appreciate being alive and surrounded by wonder, like books and sunshine and family and laughter? Is it asking too much for everyone to sit down and shut up for a minute? To look at what we have, instead of what we can take away from someone else. Wouldn’t that be a lovely, relaxing change of pace?
Okay, on your mark. Get set. Go.
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