The White House may be a grand family home, but a family home is what it is, and the same things are important in it at Christmas time as are important at your house. You know what those things are. Maybe they sound a little sappy when put into words, and therefore are usually not expressed. They are transmitted otherwise instead in certain fleeting glances that pass between family members, like the shadows cast by a candle or the flicker of a tree bulb. They float, these important things; they waft, the way cooking smells waft. Sometimes you apprehend them as a patch of warmth on the skin, as if you had just walked by a fireplace. Or equally, you may hear a reminder of what is important, faint but clear as a bell being sounded some distance away.
Do I make it sound mysterious? Well, it isn't. We all know what is important when we feel it. And we know, too, that there is something delicate about the spirit that descends upon us late in December, so delicate that the attempt to hold it fast would fail just as surely as closing your hand on a snowflake would only melt it.
At the White House, at your house, may what is important
about this time of year be as clear to you, and as warm and as bright, as a little flame.
By Charles Osgood
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