I am writing about Christmas, but this is about something that really bothers
me. I was raised Catholic, and maybe that’s partly why I have always thought of
Christmas as a season and not just one day. The Christmas tree went up on the
24th of December and was not taken down until after Olde Christmas
Day on the 6th of January. When I was a child Christmas meant going
to church, visiting my grandparents, and spending time with family and friends.
When I was very little there was a lot of excitement surrounding gifts and
anticipating what Santa might bring, but as I grew older, and especially after
I had children of my own, I grew to appreciate the beauty of Christmastime. And
not just the scrumptious food and merry-making, but the deeper, long-lasting
values of selfless giving; of the importance of goodwill, faith, peace and love.
The charitable impulses often lost in the daily grind are more on display at
Christmas than at any other time of year. Thankfully that still seems to be the
this more secular world are we losing out on some of these values? A young
person I worked with seemed aghast when I said I might wear my Christmas
sweater to work on the 27th – I had been telling an employee who was
not there last year about how chilly the place is after being closed a few days
and how she should wear something warm. My Christmas sweater is very warm. At
any rate, my young co-worker was surprised at the idea of my wearing it after
Christmas day. It led me to wondering once again about how fast-paced life has
become and how the season of Christmas seems to grow shorter and shorter year
after year. It saddens me. Have the ‘twelve days of Christmas’ been shortened
to only one?
does Christmas mean to you? Is it only one day out of the year, or like myself,
do you see it as more than that? I think, more than ever, we need that spirit
of goodwill; of peace on earth. And we need to have more than just one day to
I haven’t been feeling my best for weeks now. But, despite that I am looking forward to Christmas. It can be a bit crazy, even depressing at times, but I truly love this time of year. People seem more caring and empathetic than at any other time. When I was a child our family would drive to the church for midnight mass. We lived in rural Newfoundland, on the west coast of the island. Life was so simple then – or maybe it’s because I was a child and it seems simpler looking back. I remember the moon shining on the bay we drove along and my father remarking on how calm the water was. I remember singing Christmas carols and I remember my parents sitting waiting for all of us to get up Christmas morning. The tree never went up before Christmas Eve and in the morning it all seemed so magical. There were never a lot of gifts, but we appreciated the few things we received.
What is it about Christmas that makes me so nostalgic? As I place ornaments on the tree each one brings back memories of Christmases past and how very blessed and fortunate my life has been. No, it hasn’t been easy and sometimes life seems so unfair – but it is a good life nonetheless.
Wherever you are, and whomever you are sharing Christmas with this year, I hope you feel blessed. I hope joy overwhelms you. I hope you feel the peace and goodwill the season can bring. And above all this, I wish you love. Merry Christmas!
Letting go of negativity is not easy. I am constantly telling people close to me to be careful with their thoughts, but I am no expert on letting go of negative self-talk. I struggle with it on a daily basis. Sometimes the sorrows of this world; the hate and anger and general injustices get the better of me. I forget to pull down my glass bubble, my safety shield. And then I am good for nothing and nobody. It is so easy to let the stress and worries of day-to-day life get the best of us. Our thoughts can become like a million daggers pointed straight at our hearts. They become death-dealing. And instead of being a support for others we become the ones needing support. That is why the struggle to resist our inner critics is so important. How can we give to our loved ones or our communities if our glass is totally empty?
On the flip side, we become beacons of hope and light and goodwill when we treat ourselves with gentleness and compassion. We become more productive, more able to give and sow seeds of kindness and peace. And the good news is we get to choose our thoughts. We can choose how we react to life. Will it be with gentleness and understanding or with judgment and hate? We are all only human, flawed and imperfect. Why then do we expect perfection from others? So today I will count my blessings, of which there are many. And I will give thanks I am able to offer solace to those who may need it; those whom may be mired in the jungle of negativity – but I will remember to draw down my shield first!