I’m reading a good book Todd Schoepflin gave me, A General Theory of Love, in which three wonderfully eloquent psychiatrists explain their ideas about human emotion, including its neurological roots. They had me at hello: early in the book they decry our culture’s thoroughly Modern tendency to privilege Reason over Emotion, a tendency they show runs through our biases regarding therapy & healing, education, and “mature” human experience. These guys are pro-emotion; how exhilarating!
Yes, emotion without reason leads to all kinds of tragedy–mindless religion, mindless government, mindless teens, mindless mobs–we all get the picture. But reason without emotion–the vulcanizing of life–makes life hardly worth living. Emotion is the spice of life, and Christmas, it seems to me, is a “safe place” to be emotional: we experience nostalgia as trees are “lit;” wonder when it snows around December 25th; tears with Clarence and George Bailey; awe at readings of Twas the Night Before Christmas; warm connection when opening gifts together; beauty when window shopping downtown; childlike safety in front of a crackling fire; and the deeply moving feelings engulfing us when we’re in the presence of Christmas miracles: “the spirits did it all in one night!”
So go ahead: be emotional. It’s a great, great gift from God.