A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, asking what we all thought the true meaning of Christmas was. I was the only one to take the bait, posting Nephew Fred's speech from A Christmas Carol. Said friend then replied "Christmas means different things to different people, but dare I opine that a majority of the meanings today have very little, if any, connection to the original? Those meanings might be wonderful and worthy, but still warped in some sense."
My reply was: "I don't care what you call it - any day where people are more inclined to help their fellow man and show compassion, even if all it is is having an extra ounce or two of patience - that's a day I can get behind. I guess compassion is what I think the meaning of Christmas is. (And Jesus was all about compassion too.)"
And I would argue that the man in whose honor the day is held would rather see folks, regardless of their religious beliefs, being truly kind and generous to each other than seeing people battling over whether we're all being worshipful enough.
And so, here are my 100(ish) words about Christmas, with many thank-yous to Charles Dickens:
"But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!" - A Christmas Carol