Ari Armstrong, Exclusives, Featured, Uncategorized

Armstrong: Finding Christmas in Colorado

The beetle-kill pine logs crackle in the fireplace. The stereo hums with the voices of Face Vocal Band, Angus Mohr, and other Colorado holiday favorites. Gift shoppers traipse through the cold wearing their down jackets with shorts and flip-flops. Skiers and snowboarders gaze longingly at the slopes as they drive a mile an hour up I-70. It is Christmastime in Colorado.

Progressive legislators snuggle in their beds while visions of tax-and-regulate bills dance in their heads. Never mind that the last ones haven’t even all taken effect yet. Democratic law makers prepare to sit at Jared Polis’s knee and ask him to grant every wish from their interest groups, even though he is all dressed up as a libertarian.

Far away, Jeff Bezos is checking his lists and polishing the headlights of his smiling blue vans to deliver holiday cheer. The children yet believe in the magic of Santa. Republicans too once dreamed of coming gifts of red but found themselves harshly disenchanted.

The mayor of Denver has declared an emergency over hundreds of migrants seeking refuge. Various conservatives seek to score points over sanctuary cities, although some might recall that a certain father of a certain baby born some two thousand years ago once sought refuge in a far-away land to escape oppression, so the story goes.

Christmas came early to one Louisville family who got to move into their newly built home following the devastating losses of the Marshall Fire late last year. My family could see the flames in the distance from our north-facing window. Hopefully by the holidays next year the affected areas will be restored.

For many, winter celebrations of faith pertain to second chances. Representative-elect Elisabeth Epps recently has called on the governor to grant clemency to a number of individuals serving long prisons sentences. A common theme is that someone committed a serious crime while a young man but worked hard in prison at self-improvement. I hope the governor takes a serious look at these cases and that conservatives will concede that sometimes the punishment has fit the crime before the legal sentence is up.

Food Bank of the Rockies and other organizations work hard to make sure that no one in Colorado goes hungry. If you have had a successful year, consider sharing some of your bounty with those less fortunate.

According to the New Testament book of Matthew, a star appeared in the sky to signal the birth of Jesus, something many people celebrate by topping their evergreen with a star.

This year many naturalists experienced the awe of witnessing the origins of the universe though the images of the James Webb telescope, something various Colorado-tied companies had a hand in developing.

John Bally, professor emeritus in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at CU Boulder, said, “Telescopes are like time machines. Because of the finite speed of light, the farther you look into space, the farther you see back in time. By looking ever farther into space with James Webb, we can reconstruct and literally watch the evolution of matter in the cosmos—from the very first galaxies up to the present. With luck, we can see the first stars to emerge from our universe, the first galaxies to emerge from our universe.”

Peering into these images strikes me as an excellent way to celebrate the cosmos and to contemplate our place in it.

The evergreen has played a role in many cultural traditions as a symbol of new life. My wife and I impulsively bought a tree on sale while out on a walk and had to trudge it two miles back home. Our son wanted to string popcorn for the tree but he ate the popcorn faster than he threaded it, so we made do with other decorations.

Miraculously, people are still allowed to say Merry Christmas even though Donald Trump no longer is president. Many also wish their friends a Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, or Newton’s Birthday. Whatever our differences I hope we can remember that we are all Coloradans. I hope we can bring down the heat on some of the political issues that have divided many of us. We live in a wonderful state. Even when we cannot be proud of some parts of our state’s history, we can be proud to learn the right lessons and to set a better course for the future. A new year is just around the corner.

Ari Armstrong writes regularly for Complete Colorado and is the author of books about Ayn Rand, Harry Potter, and classical liberalism. He can be reached at ari at ariarmstrong dot com.


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