Christmas is almost here! Who knew! Tomorrow to be exact. And while I have no clue how this happens, it seems every year it sneaks right up on a host of us.
And I know a lot of folks have a really tough time around the holidays. Many, many people spend the holidays alone. Many are sick. Many don’t get to see loved ones. And for a lot of folks, the lack of a Norman Rockwell-like scene brings depression and sadness.
Even for those surrounded by friends and family, that sadness can settle in. We have this idea of what Christmas, especially, should look like. All the commercials show it, no? How through the hustle and bustle, that service man gets home to play Santa. Or the prodigal brother arrives just in time for egg nog.
Movies are filled with it too. I’ll never forget that scene in Shenandoah on Christmas Eve when the son arrives sans leg and walks into the church. Yep, now that’s the miracle of Christmas.
We all cry at that stuff (oh, admit it—you do!). No matter what one’s beliefs or holiday practices, some things just resonate with the heart.
We live in a Christian country. From childhood on we’re steeped in Christian images. The old ‘one nation under God’ statement we all grew up with in grade school. And of course, this meant the white-haired man in the sky. Nativity scenes fill yards and schools, and the carols we sing are mostly about the baby Jesus. We just grow up thinking that’s what faith is.
It’s ingrained in us. I.e., if you don’t believe in the Christian God, you don’t believe in God.
It’s usually a shock to find out that others have a different idea of God, and believe it just as fervently!
And with that comes this picture as well of what Christmas is supposed to look like. Because along with baby Jesus in the manger, and gifts of Frankincense and Myrrh, come blessings on those of good will.
We all feel that good will. It’s instilled in us, even if some grow up to be Buddhists. At this time of year, we all want peace on earth.
And Norman Rockwell. I’ve yet to meet the person who doesn’t want the painter’s version in our very homes.
Sometimes it happens. Most times, well, life is a bit more complicated . . .
Following the un-realization of the perfect image, for whatever reason, comes the blues.
My own life has changed drastically over the last five years, with the loss of our parents. Our family has somewhat fractured, as families often do. But my holidays are always still filled with those I love. We laugh, we feast, we know how blessed we are.
The Winter Solstice brings with it the return of the sun. The date of Christmas piggybacked onto these ancient celebrations already in progress around this time. My Jewish friends of course celebrate Hanukah.
Symbolically, all of these festivals, in one form or another, celebrate the Return of the Light. The reentering of consciousness into what was a dark world indeed.
So just know that if you’re feeling blue, the Light, whatever you believe it to be, has indeed returned.
In this season of rejoicing and family and friends, all loved ones true, I wish for you all the beauty these Holy Days bring. All the true goodness of Christmas, the gratitude of the Hanukah Lights, the return of the life-giving sun.
I wish for you all good and holy things.
And on these holiest of times, as all the days of the year, I pray for Peace on Earth.
See you next year!