Itís ice blue outside, but in here it is all red and orange and gold. People all condense into one room for merrymaking, paying no heed to the crystals cracking the windowpane.
We are here tonight, gathered like this, to celebrate something, but I have the idea that at least half of us have forgotten what it is we really are celebrating. This day has become all toys, and colored paper, and bright lights, and food, and shine. There is no solemnity to the occasion, and I think that maybe there should be, just a little.
I lean back and at the same time, go back. I go back, in my mind, to somewhere else. Somewhere, on this same day, where it wouldnít be ice blue outside, but dry purple and yellow. The sky would be blue velvet, and one pinpoint of light would shine there, brighter and greater than the rest. In that one light lies the X-marks-the-spot for the hope of all Humanity. That light shines above a shack for animals, a stable. In that stable cries the Hope, the Love...some might call it the Way, the Truth, and the Light. Some call it Salvation, Savior. I suppose it is all those things, or becomes all those things in due time. Now, though...now it is simply a child. The Child.
Iím not religious. I never have been, in reality. Iím not religious, but I am spiritual, and no matter who or what this Child was or is, I believe, above all else, that it is real, and living, and right. Right about love, right about peace. It doesnít matter that I wonít be going to Hell because of a sacrifice, though if thatís the case, Iím surely grateful. What matters is that this Person cared enough to make a sacrifice in my name, and in the name of so many. What matters is that I can be a better person by knowing what this Child says.
I open my eyes again to bright and noise. A cousin yelps and strangles a brand new doll. I start to cry. Itís not fair. This holiday doesnít belong to her, not really. True, it honors all children. But really, it still belongs to the Child. No one cares anymore. The Nativity sits gravely on the mantelpiece. I unfold myself from the cushions and walk to it, as everyone stops to look at me, just now noticing my emotion. I pick up the Child. The figure is small and cold in my hand. I turn, Child in hand, and leave the room with the plastic tree and the plastic people. I walk outside, into the ice blue. The night is still. There is one light there, shining brightest. I walk toward it.
I will honor the Child tonight.