Reflections on the Holiday Season
by Franci Hart
The holiday season is so complex. Many religious traditions celebrate at this time, each in their own way.
On the one hand there is the joy, excitement, bustle of parties and gatherings of families. It is enough to make one’s head spin. Yet, the holidays can be very painful lonely times for others. Death, illness, economic issues color the holidays for so many.
My own memories are complex. My childhood home did not have Christmas decorations until Christmas morning. Santa Clause brought it all. My father delighted in telling of a Christmas when I was two years old. I was so excited by the splendor of the tree and presents, that I ran upstairs, hid under a bed and wet my pants. He told this story every year until he died.
I can remember the slight disappoint that the pony I had asked Santa for did not appear. But mostly I remember times with my very large extended family. It was one great party.
Several years ago I realized that Christmas came every year and if I screwed up this year, I had a chance to do better next time. Whew, what a relief!
I remember the year that my former husband left our three young children and me three days before Christmas. Tears rolled down my eyes that year as I sang “Joy to the World” in the choir loft. Even the comfort of well-meaning family could not ease my grief.
So, let’s be gentle to each other this holiday season. Respect those who are grieving, include those who are by themselves and above all be compassionate and understanding. This is what the holiday celebrations are really about.
Franci thank you for this honest and open account that many can relate to. As you say Christmas is a complicated memory for a lot of us. Family Christmas was always at our tiny house. I never understood how Mum could prepare a complicated Christmas meal for seven in such a cramped kitchen and the stress of it all invariably led to a tearful breakdown. There were card games, which usually didn’t end well, and a few drinks for Mum – who fell into the Christmas tree on more than one occasion. Love your advice – relax and practice kindness – Christmas will come again next year but the opportunity for acts of love may not. Franci thank you for sharing your story.
Reflections are best when they help members get to know and understand each other better. Your heart-touching candor strikes a soft awareness of you and awakes your readers to examine the impact of our own Yule experiences!