TAHOE CITY, Calif. - This is not the Christmas season. The season of Christmas is for all time - past, present and future. Christmas is for every day. The season of Christmas goes beyond the birth of a child, beyond the giving of gifts, beyond the rich and the poor, beyond the shortest days of the year, beyond darkness and beyond light. Christmas goes where we are going.
Christmas is the love living inside us all. It is the life we all share. It is our breath, it is the earth, it is every living thing, it is life's contradictions, wonders, fears, suffering and death.
Christmas is everything we see, and everything we don't see. It's the whole kit 'n caboodle, the whole ball of wax, the big enchilada.
Christmas is the four directions of the American Indian, and the great circle of life. It is the spectacular beauty of the universe found in a candle, a candy cane and a cradle. It is mankind's mutual desire to find a way to celebrate life, joy and love together. Christmas is the season of true happiness and eternal freedom. It is what we are all looking for.
The birth of the creator of the universe, after billions of years of creation (give or take), astrologers following stars, the custom of the Christmas tree, Santa Claus and bells can, if we open our eyes and ears, take us beyond what we know to the fullness of time, and enlighten us to our full potential. Then we realize just how perfect, simple and free love is.
Oh yeah? Says who? Bah humbug!
Yes, it is more than a little funny for a mere mortal to make statements like these. Claiming to know what Christmas is, and what true happiness is, let alone what the nature of the universe is, is considered to be nothing more than ignorant fantasy by some who are just as lost in their own illusions as they think people who believe in Christmas are.
We abuse our own disbelief when we use it to mock belief.
Since not even science can prove God does not exist, belief and non-belief are both equally matters of faith, not science. The biggest myth of all is that a human being can say belief in God is a myth. No human being can say God does not exist and expect to make any more sense than someone who says he does exist.
It is easier, and way more fun, to love Christmas than to argue about it and be shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods, to paraphrase Einstein.
Nobody has a monopoly on knowing what exists or does not exist. Those of us who think we know are often times the ones we have to watch out for. But, that doesn't mean we can't know everything about the true meaning of Christmas.
You can decide if today's Grasshopper Soup is myth or knowledge, but, before we get to the point where we decide we have all the facts about what exists and what doesn't, we should ask ourselves - do I think I am the ultimate judge?
If you answer yes, put some cookies and milk out for Santa, enjoy a sip of eggnog, kiss everyone under the mistletoe, flick on the light switch to the Christmas tree and be in awe of the star. Better yet, try harvesting all the seeds from three pomegranates in less than an hour. See how much of Christmas you and your children can learn from a pomegranate. It's all there. Be happy that we can all enjoy Christmas. It is worth every effort.
Even if Christmas is a myth, that doesn't mean it isn't real. The purpose of a myth is to go beyond all the characters and events in the myth, beyond the church, the rituals, the nativity scenes, the barbarism of King Herod; go beyond the institutions and the history and see the symbolism and meaning that the "myth" gives to all of our lives.
Christmas is a time, like any time, to celebrate our common humanity.
Celebrate the joy of it all, even if you don't believe any of it.
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.