I recently read this and wanted to share it as we approach the season of Christmas.
…[W]hen a festival goes as it should, men receive something that it is not in human power to give. This is the by now almost forgotten reason for the age-old custom of men wishing one another well on great festival days. What are we really wishing our fellow men when we send them “best wishes for Christmas”? Health, enjoyment of each other’s company, thriving children, success – all these things, too, of course. We may even – why not? – be wishing them a good appetite for the holiday meal. But the real thing we are wishing is the “success” of the festive celebration itself, not just its outer forms and enrichments, not the trimmings, but the gift that is meant to be the true fruit of the festival: renewal, transformation, rebirth. Nowadays, to be sure, all this can barely be sensed behind the trite formula: “Happy Holidays.”
From Josef Pieper’s In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity