Thomas Cahill, in his book ‘How The Irish Saved Civilization’ reveals how deeply impacting were Saint Patrick’s Christian principles upon Irish society. Generations of Celtic beliefs in gods fierce and ruthless towards humanity were swept away as the Biblical concept of a loving, self sacrificing God took root and flourished. Says Cahill, ‘the belief grew strong that the one thing the devil cannot bear is laughter.’ We’re not trying here to make some theological point out of joviality, but we will make the point that God Almighty moved the wise man to say ‘a merry heart doeth good like a medicine!’
I’m with the Irish on this - anything that bedevils the Devil brightens my life! Which brings us to this most special of almost every special time. There’s a reason ‘Merry Christmas!’ bursts from the lips of us who love this season; if the classic Christmas song were retitled to ‘Have Yourself A Somber Little Christmas’, it just wouldn’t have the same ring. ‘We Wish You A Contemplative Christmas’ - huh - that title probably wouldn’t have remained the enduring classic as does the original. Same for “God Rest Ye Dreary Gentlemen’.
Sure, there are parts of Christmas commercialism and overindulgence that should be avoided and called down, but come on, away with the killjoys! Revere the Nativity, take in the bright lights, sing the carols, laugh with kith and kin, open the gifts, wad up the wrapping paper and throw it, eat the pie… and enjoy every merry moment! The troubles will keep, and the worry warts and grouse-abouts will have all the rest of the year to stomp our joy. But for this season, ages ago the rest of the world voted it would be Merry Christmas, so let’s welcome this opportunity to make things unbearable for the Devil.
To you and yours, a very Merry Christmas!!