It’s Christmas Eve. We’re coming toward the end of 2017 in a bit of a rush.
Grade 6 graduation for Sam, a new job for me, a birthday ending with a ‘0’ for Al, a swirling of end of year activities and focus for Phoebe – and that’s just been in a bit over a week.
This year has felt particularly full (with the exception of those wonderful weeks between jobs in November), and we’ve moved from one activity to another without fully thinking where we are heading.
I usually spend some time leading up to Christmas reflecting on the year that’s been, focusing on what Christmas means to us, and becoming swept up in the Christmas festivities. I
inflict delight friends and family with a family reflection, peppered with anecdotes, political / social observations, oh, and some family news. And then it’s tempered with Al’s adjustments of the facts. It’s as wonderful (yes, truly!) as it sounds.
I’m sure everyone who receives our letter loves it (well, they tell me they do, even if they can’t quite look me in the eye). I know those who normally receive it will be devastated by the fact that, this year, I’ve run out of steam.
The lead up to Christmas has been a bit buried in too many other things. We’ve had lovely catch ups with many people, but not as much writing. Frankly, there’s been so much written on so many things – positive and negative – that I feel swamped by views and (not by me) that I’m out of words. I’m sorry.
But maybe Christmas – and New Year – is not about lots of words. Maybe, instead, it’s about relationships?? After all, for those who are Christians, it began with the birth of a baby (and the difficulty of a young woman finding out unexpectedly she was having a baby and then having to ride a donkey – we think – for four days when she was about to give birth, which when you think about it can’t have been much fun, plus the often ignored husband, Joseph, and all the others who were involved before or after the birth).
And for those who are not Christians but still celebrate Christmas, this time of the year is often about relationships, in particular, family. The emotions swirling around this time can range from happiness or stress, as the time can be overwhelming, lovely and enjoyable, or lonely. In all cases, it’s about our interaction with others. It’s not – at core – about getting ALL THE THINGS DONE.
So, although I haven’t managed the letter, I have stopped and paused. And I’ve come up with a poem instead. Yes, it’s a little (very?) cheesy (and maybe doesn’t scan), but I hope it’s a nice reminder about what Christmas is all about.
Tis the afternoon 'fore Christmas And throughout our home So much action is happening No creature dares roam. Our dog is in hiding (we've tripped over her too much) We are trying to finish, by today all prep for Christmas lunch. Then I pause and reflect for of course, Christmas is more than a focus on 'getting though' acts which end up as a chore. Instead it provides us a time not to focus on gifts though nice, are means to show others we care in the rush, my focus I shift And I view what's important Friends, family - old and new Where we've grown and regressed What to change, what to renew. I reflect too, about A child's birth long ago And the life that was given So true love we can know. So, instead of a roll call of achievements this year my thought shift from milestones, and from things to those dear. From my family and friends to those I've not met to those struggling this year Without hope but regret. And in thinking about the years Gone and to come I'll still reach out towards others with my shyness I'll shun Still continuing self trust, my word for the year add to this more compassion, helping those close and near.
And of course, being open to trying more fun overcoming my hesitation for life's a gift that we all have won. These thoughts flowed through my mind so to collect them, I write to share our love to you, and our wish to all - a good night!
What does Christmas mean to you?