Everyone does not get to experience that feeling. When the different holidays of the year occur, one after another, there are so many humans who do not swell up with great good cheer, pride or simply delight in the fact that a special time is coming, or has already arrived.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal,” quoted from the Declaration of Independence, do not hold a thimble of lukewarm water for so many humans living on planet earth, or even in the United States, the highly vaunted country of great wealth and freedom. Movies have become identification markers, shown before, during and sometimes even after popular holidays. Films such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (with Steve Martin and John Candy), along with Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street, Holiday Inn, White Christmas, and The Christmas Story, have all become indelibly ingrained in the cultural consciousness of America, and their influence has spread abroad. The cable pay channels do not carry many of these classics anymore, even It’s a Wonderful Life, one of the most successful movies of all time. There will only be one cable showing of that film on Christmas Eve (on NBC), and The Christmas Story will be available in marathon form for the entire Christmas Eve day and night but don’t look for your other favorites. These every so popular classic films do not bring in new viewers, not like the new stuff from Seinfeld and others being added to the cable venue, and that’s what these networks and pay television stations are after.
That wonderful ‘New Testament’ Christian feeling of doing good and then being considered good by ourselves, as well as others, escapes so many human beings. If one were to take scissors to the old Testament, cut it out, and then go back to the New Testament and ax Revelations, then the true meaning of what is entailed in following a strong moral code to great effect can be accomplished by everyone. Jesus was not born in a hotel, motel or anything resembling that. He was very likely born in a cruddy, dirty animal shelter in a wooden manger. It is out of those roots from which spring greatness, compassion, and dignity.
Most leadership positions in the modern world are filled with men and men from wealthy birth. The public they are supposed to SERVE is made up, almost universally, of men, women, and children who come from much humbler origins. Yet is in that cast off animal shelter, in that proverbial manger and in real life that the public must lift its head, like some of the uplifted faces in Norman Rockwell’s paintings, and face the world with truth, justice and yes, “The American Way” imbued within them and expressed externally all around them.
What is that “The American Way” so many people get that feeling about? It is the embodiment of a belief system that has been historically imprinted on almost every US citizen, and most citizens of the world, and that is always right within reach for those who continue to want it so badly. This time of year the music of the holidays comes at us non-stop on most radio channels, the communities holiday lights are lit after Thanksgiving all about the town, and across endless yards, one after another, everywhere. It is (but it isn’t) about merely the purchase of gifts and goods or food to fuel the holiday spirit, and it’s not totally about Christian beliefs or concepts either. It is more a fundamental rock solid feeling of growing together. We are not alone. I am not alone. You are not alone. Go out, after reading this, not with a new concept of what the holiday spirit is all about, but as a renewal of your faith that you ‘hold these beliefs to be self-evident.’
We were not all created equal, but we can all come to be equal in many regards. Decorate your home, drive up and down those avenues and byways that are all lit up for your enjoyment. Those things are not all there to draw you in to buy things, like moths to a burning flame. Much of what you experience, be it in the movies, on television, over the radio and all around you are there to make the people who created those things feel better about life and also, very importantly, to make you feel better too.