We need the Christmas spirit, right this very minute Print
Youth Column
Written by Erick Rommel, Catholic News Service   
Thursday, Dec. 05, 2013 -- 12:00 AM

'Tis the season to speak of the Christmas spirit.

You know what that is. It's a feeling experienced every December. It's the warmth that comes from happiness created by nothing more than watching joy on other people's faces. It's the unexpected kindness that bond people who otherwise have little in common. It's the seasonal energy that makes people proudly sing songs they would dismiss at other times of year.

Those songs express the Christmas spirit better than anything I could possibly say and, in turn, they create and enhance the spirit they lovingly embrace. One of the most cheerful of these is "We Need a Little Christmas."

Who can't tap their toes and feel joy when they read the words, "For we need a little Christmas, right this very minute, candles in the window, carols at the spinet." The energy of the words and music create a feeling that can only be described as "the Christmas spirit."

But, like many Christmas songs, "We Need a Little Christmas" is far from the joyous romp we expect. The message behind the lyric is actually one of sorrow. The words, "For I've grown a little leaner, grown a little colder, grown a little sadder, grown a little older," are far from cheery. Without the upbeat music, they're depressing and melancholy.

Once you know the song's history, it's easy to understand why. Originally written for the musical "Mame," the song "We Need a Little Christmas" is sung by a woman who has lost her fortune. She needs some Christmas in her life so she doesn't fall into a depression.

That's a feeling that affects all of us from time to time.

There are many occasions when each of us needs a little Christmas. Sometimes that feeling comes in December. At other times, it comes in July. Why must we limit the creation of that feeling to the limited number of weeks that we vaguely call "the holiday season"?

Last month, I spent a week at Walt Disney World. When we arrived, the theme park was having its Halloween party. Creepy music played throughout the park and guests and cast members wore scary costumes.

The day before we left, exactly one week later, we attended the park's Christmas. The lit pumpkins, headless horseman and free candy were gone, replaced by Christmas lights, carols and hot chocolate with sugar cookies. They even created snow. In Florida, that's called a bit of Christmas magic.

When we left the park, we had the Christmas spirit, even though the calendar showed it was still the first week of November. Some would say such an early celebration is a sign of the holiday's commercialization -- and to some degree, they're right. But it was also a reminder that the lessons of compassion and caring we fondly recall every December shouldn't be promptly forgotten before ringing in the new year.

In the end, we need a little Christmas every month of the year. We need a little music. We need a little laughter. We need a little singing, ringing through the rafter.

If all we need is a little hope and a little love to discover the Christmas spirit and reach a "snappy happy every after," then I don't think there's anything wrong in saying we need a little Christmas now.


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