The Great Depression, World War II, the turbulence of the 1960s — as painful as they are, why is it that particularly difficult times in history are also often remembered by those who endured them as being particularly precious and special?
Perhaps you could call it a dual edged sword of irony — the fact that happy memories are never quite so sweet as when they blossom from the soil of strife. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. For it’s in troubled times that we are truly most in need of happy visions — like the sight of someone feared lost forever walking through the front door on Christmas Eve. It’s a universal truth and the reason why 60-year-old movies continue to make us well up year after year.
Yes, there’s something about extreme difficulties that lend themselves nicely to improvement of the human condition. Bad times do (obviously) drive some people to dastardly deeds, but they also inspire masses of others to think poetically and act emotionally. Think of all those holiday stories from bygone eras when children who wake up on Christmas morning are thrilled to find nothing more in their stocking than a single orange and a handmade scarf.
So if you’re struggling financially and looking for a bright spot in this bleak economic and social time in our history, consider this. For the children in your life, maybe not getting everything they want come Christmas morning will in fact be a priceless gift —Â a valuable lesson on the importance of priorities that will last far longer than the i-Pod you didn’t buy this year.
Think back on your own favorite Christmas memories. While you may hit on a note of nostalgia while recalling the Big Wheel or the Barbie Dream House, remember, it was not the toy itself, but the family who surrounded you the minute you opened it, that created the memory. Those parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles who now are nothing more than a handful of overexposed frames on an 8 millimeter home movie.
It’s the ultimate Christmas gift and one that you’re not likely to find at the mall at any price.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.Â