Whether they subscribe to the Christian faith or are uneasy with the origins of the festival or its provenance as marking the birth time of Jesus Christ, billions of people around the world, including the vast majority of Jamaicans, are celebrating the Christmas season.
That is good. Because for all the commercialism that attends the season, with its potential for subsuming the larger message of the occasion, we like Christmas because it represents something far more profound than ourselves, but how we would wish to be.
Indeed, people of faith celebrate the birth of Christ, the Son of God revealed as man and delivered in humble circumstances. That is the beginning of the powerful story of God's unconditional, classless, redemptive love, the thread of which runs from the manger through to Jesus' washing of the feet at the Passover supper, followed by His crucifixion at Calvary.
"Unto you is born this day, in the City of David, a saviour who is Christ the Lord." - Luke 2:11
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." - John 3:16
THE ACT OF GIVING
But even shorn of its religious significance of God creating a path to eternal salvation, the act of giving and fellowship that are central to Christmas are universally appealing. It excites our humanity, bringing to our consciousness this sense that humans exist best with a greater fulfilment when they live not only for themselves, but as a community. And part of that process is caring and sharing, which, weighted down by the festive bacchanalia of the season, is especially apparent at Christmas.
So, tomorrow, family and friends will gather and feast, share, fellowship and be warmed by the experience. Christian or non-believer, we will, if even only for a short time, be closer to the universal truth: that mankind's survival is better assured in this environment of sharing and peace and redemptive love.
We will have acknowledged our common humanity. And that, in the end, is the basis of the story of Christmas.