In the old days people must have observed Christmas as a time for gathering strength, mind and will to face the coming of the unknown, much of it were caused by erratic days of the year drawing to a close, with only the regularity of life, provided by uncountable traces upon which to depend their next steps for tomorrow, giving them the comfort of the uncanny, even so, a comfort to begin with.
With the invention of the new calendar we were offered presumably complete days and nights, with a room for leap years to accommodate what still need to be accounted for, affording chance its moment to shine but shine it does as it can be thought in advance; cycles of birth, and death, and perhaps rebirth, yet much still would leave us with the feeling of being surrounded by a gaping void (to borrow from Nietzsche).
Never therefore has the unpredictable become the real feeling of what is to come with the uncanny guarantee of calculable days and nights, of the regularity of time and familiarity of space, not to mention Christmas that is about to come to pass, few hours from now.
It may be well in this light that perhaps we need to regain the old consciousness of what is to come, unbounded by external principle, the objective measure of time, in the face of the unknown. Perhaps, this could bind us as one in a world that has never been our true home with all its false guarantees of happiness, and human desire rather chased by a measurable object of craving where desire ceased to be what it used to be, arousing noble passions, and more intensely, love that creates all.
And so when people say ‘happy Christmas!’ they say this in the hope that something in this world, notwithstanding, would beckon a new beginning, a new promise that this world would one day become us, no more as that from which we are alienated and estranged, or from which our desires our stolen in favor of the world where we can never fit in. But fit we do, not to mention, in the face of the impossible, through friendship and a shared feeling of vulnerability, by all means love like life, more actual than civility, more real than all the ways of the known world combined; more mysterious than death.
Happy Christmas then!
NB: See http://persistentenlightenment.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/christmas-truce/ for a critical take on the famous ‘Christmas truce’ if not for a bit of Walter Benjamin: “The past carries with it a secret index by which it is referred to redemption.”