In the classic Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street, Santa Claus alias Kris Kringle sets out on a mission to remind the world that, “Christmas isn’t just a day, it is a frame of mind.”
Every occasion we celebrate evokes in us a certain kind of disposition or frame of mind. National day festivities inspire a sense of patriotism and national pride. Religious feasts arouse faith and devotion. Likewise, Christmas puts us in a cheerful and benevolent mood.
This disposition becomes a collective force when shared with the people we celebrate with, whether family, friends, our cultural or social communities, or our fellowmen. But while most celebrations are observed only by certain groups or cultures, Christmas is perhaps the most universal occasion that can unite the world into a collective frame of mind. We call it, the Christmas or holiday spirit.
For people of different faiths and cultural backgrounds, the yuletide season is a time to be reunited with family and friends. It is an occasion for offering presents to loved ones even if it’s not their birthday. It is a moment to send greetings or receive well wishes even from those we haven’t seen or heard from in a while. It is the season of radiant lights, beaming decors, and crackling fireplaces keeping the light and warmth alive in the dark, cold winter.
This is perhaps why Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes. Because while we can be individualistic on any other day, this is the one season when we are collectively inspired by a joyful and loving spirit. There occurs a certain complicity among us. A complicity of kindness, generosity, charity, peace, and good cheer. You may or may not embrace that spirit, but you will feel it in the air, see it in the lights, hear it in the carols, and recognize it on people’s faces.
It is a pity that this universal disposition can vanish as soon as the party is over. But maybe it doesn’t have to. What if we mindfully and intentionally sustain the humane principles and moral code of Christmas all throughout the year? What a difference it would make considering how our frame of mind can shape our behavior and guide our actions.
Happy holidays to one and all. And may every day be Christmas in our lives.