Happy holidays, Readers, even a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The television schmaltz is actually correct for a change: Relax in any manner you can. Join the spirit of the season. Make room for family in some manner, whether near or far. Prepare a treat you would not ordinarily prepare. Take a day to go somewhere that has been on your list for some time. Visit or call that long lost cousin four states away.
Some of us are alone, ill or incapacitated. Still, one can find a peaceful spot inside; there is a lifetime of memories if nothing else. A relative of the mariner used to visit the grave of her father and mother some time during the holidays. Christmas is sharing life, memories, joy.
Christmas is not all flash and boxes. The gifts are a metaphor for birth and the life that follows. It is not a time for depression or loneliness; it is a time for self-actualization. No matter how old or alone one is, there is an ability to celebrate one’s unique experiences, finding a satisfied wisdom that younger folks cannot fathom.
Find someone singing Christmas carols. It can be a church service, in the mall, on television or radio. The church carols are timeless and comforting.
Many have feelings of inadequacy when trying to find a gift for someone. When the mariner was in Taiwan, he learned that gifts were given on any occasion, for Chinese New year, Christmas and even a friendly visit. The gifts were not expensive. In fact, many had been passed around before; the wrapping of many was worn. The gift was rarely of significant use. Yet the Taiwanese had mastered the spirit of intent. The presence of the gift was the value – not the gift itself. The mariner once received a single small lotus blossom (invokes wealth in Hindu); another time he received an old doll for his daughter; another time he received a small wooden apple in a tattered box. The spirit is the giving, not the gift.
Many say Christmas is for the children. This is not true. Certainly, there is a parental desire to make the holiday as memorable as possible. However, the gifts will disappear from memory. The gift will be many family Christmases that mature into a blissful memory. If you have children of any age, do they have a chance to help bake cookies? Decorate the house and tree? Get a big Christmas Day hug?
All these thoughts entwine with the birth of Jesus, whose birth is the greatest joy and the core of the Christmas celebration. In celebration of the giving spirit of Jesus, many celebrate the season performing charitable work for shut-ins, for those in institutions, or for the homeless and needy.
Thanks again for being a reader of the blog.
Merry Christmas – tonight, have warm mead or hot chocolate.