Ghosts (er, make that Toasts) of Christmas Past (part 4)

My first three Christmas specials were from 2000, but for part 4 we jump forward to 2001. This was a tough time for me. My computer was stolen with all my work gone (over 10,000 pages), including my columns (all but three of which have hence been recovered). I was absolutely desolated about the loss of my computer, but able to have some perspective on how profoundly lucky I was to be safe and with family in a world still in shock over 9/11. I wrote this off in about ten minutes on Christmas morning, and had my brother Achmed read it at dinner. It remains one of the highlights of my life that he choked up a bit (although I'm sure he'll deny it.)

I didn't get a whole lot of columns written in 2001, but you'd have thought my writing would have improved a little bit. (No such luck.) Still, I kind of like this toast, and since sadly, this year (and for many years to come) the toast will be applicable, feel free to use any of it around your Christmas table should you feel so inclined.

From 2001.....


#71 Raise your glasses with me


I had planned on re-sending a couple of my classic Christmas columns this year. Although they were hugely controversial and caused me a lot of flack, as well as several subscription cancellations, I was quite proud of them and felt they merited a second reading.

Unfortunately, as some of you know, I lost all of my work several weeks ago and tracking it back down again proved too difficult for the time being. If you would like to reread—or read for the first time for those of you who have become readers in the past year—my columns on Santa Claus and Jesus, write to me and I will do my best to send them to you. And, maybe next year I’ll get to my thoughts probing the relationship between Santa and Jesus: are they the same person?

In the meantime, I have chosen to leave you with a couple of thoughts that you may feel free to use as toasts at Christmas dinner, a New Year’s party, or anytime in between.

First, let’s take a moment to be glad we live where we do. I don’t know whether being an American is noble or not, but I do know this: thousands of innocent people died on September 11th, but thousands more die in Afghanistan and other Third-World countries every day. People that live there are born into oppression, blinding poverty, and horrid squalor. If they manage to live past infancy, life is invariably full of pain, and they live their lives wondering whether war, disease, or their own government will kill them first. It is not our fault that millions of people are born under these conditions, but neither is it theirs. Even with the threat we are now under from our enemies, we should thank God that we live where we do. We may not be noble because we are Americans, but we are damn lucky, and we shouldn’t forget it.

Secondly, I would like to make a toast to our armed service men and women; especially those overseas and in harm’s way. Many will never come home, and those who do will be forever changed by what they saw, what they experienced; what was seared into their brains under conditions we can only dream at.
Remember this: every single one of those people is a volunteer, and they are over there because they think we are worth it. Let us live our lives to make that so, and raise our glasses in tribute and in honor for those who are paying the price for our freedom.

Hyperion,
December 25, 2001

1 comment:

cathrina said...

a toast..nice blog..