Christmas represents a lot of amazing things to a lot of people. There’s obviously the religious significance. There’s the joy and warmth. There’s the charity. The kids. Gift-giving. Gift-receiving.

But to me, it’s the closest the West, if not the world, gets to a true feeling of unity.

It’s the one day of the year when we level the playing field. Everything shuts down. Everyone tries to find time with friends and family. It’s the truest experience of peace we see over a span of 365 days.

Or so it used to be…

This morning, I went for an early morning walk, and the local Starbucks was open and hopping with early customers.

It was sad and disappointing. For one day, Starbucks couldn’t close? They couldn’t let their workers enjoy a day of rest? Coffee drinkers couldn’t make a brew at home?

I understand that not everyone celebrates Christmas. But even those who don’t are aware of the sense of peace the day brings.

You don’t have to be Catholic to see the day as a day of peace, connection, and rest. It’s a day to turn off from work, from the phone, from all of the distractions and material things. It’s a day for introspection.

Whether or not you are Catholic, people say “Merry Christmas,” not because they assume you believe in God and Jesus, but because they wish you well.

And on this Christmas day, I hope you can all find a way to make this day different than the other 364. I hope you can find joy in your surroundings and your blessings.

I hope you find a moment of peace.

Merry Christmas.