Christmas Has Arrived

A Column from the Desk of Assemblyman Karl Brabenec (R,C-Deerpark)

The most wonderful time of the year, indeed! Like many other Americans, Christmas is a truly special time for me and my family. It’s a time for us to put away our other endeavors, gather in the living room and celebrate each other in a season of glad tidings and goodwill toward men. It’s that sense of goodwill that I think many across the nation are striving for these days, in an age where political, economic and social divisions continue to keep us all at a distance from each other. It’s why the season is so special: it allows us to put those differences away for a time and celebrate the love and community that we all share.

It’s one of the reasons I find the season so special, anyway. Families gather around adorned trees, homes are aglow with twinkling lights and communities come alive with the spirit of giving; and as an assemblyman, I’ve had many years where I’m granted the joyous opportunity of supporting the hardworking women and men in the community who lead the charge in nurturing that spirit of giving and goodwill. It’s a spirit that transcends religion and culture and invites everyone to share in its goodness.

And it’s why I’m grateful for those stewards now more than ever, because it’s easy to be cynical in today’s America. Commercialization and decadence are often considered corresponding symptoms of the Christmas season, and while it’s not undeserved, that sentiment has always been one that’s missed the forest for the trees in my eyes. Advertisements bombarding us with all the latest products in “celebration” of the season are simply a sideshow to the true spirit of the season, which does admittedly require more effort on the individual to ensure breaks through the noise.

In the face of ever-present adversity, the Christmas season stands as one that allows us to lay down our burdens and celebrate the gift of life, love and community. I think back to the legendary “Christmas Truce” of 1914, where British and German soldiers at war in France held a Christmas Day ceasefire, shared medicine and food with each other, played soccer and enjoyed general merriment on the battlefield with one another. The strength and love of the human spirit prevailed that day, and I believe it still can today, despite our differences. That’s why I love the Christmas season.