According to many surveys taken throughout the United States: Christmas is the favorite holiday of about 50% of the population. It’s safe to say that the celebrations happening today, both near and far, are a testament of how much happiness this day brings to many families. But it’s also a day that reminds us of so much more. Of others in unbelievably rough circumstances, of children with no presents to open this morning, of our spirituality, of how we can contribute to the world around us, of pure goodness, and of believing and magic.
The older we get, the more our perspectives change and time becomes more relative to our age. When we were young, it took a LONG time for Christmas to roll around again, but now that we’re adults, time goes faster because we’ve experienced more of life and more Christmases and we notice that a year really isn’t that long anymore. This perspective doesn’t happen overnight; growing up is a slow process. But one day we will realize that time goes fast and life is short, so we need to make the most of everything we do…no matter what circumstances we’re in.
Besides the inevitable growing up aspect of life, becoming parents may just be the biggest perspective shift we’ll ever experience. And while not everybody chooses or is able to be a parent, the underlying magic that children bring into this world is undeniable. Why is it that we rush out of childhood so quickly? Why is it that we can't wait for our own children to grow up? Why not savor every single magical moment?
Last Christmas, I told myself that there was no reason to be sad when the holiday ended because I would blink and it would be here again. However, this year I’m going to allow myself to more fully feel all of the emotions that come with this day. To do this, it’ll require me to slow down a bit, enjoy simple things, be vulnerable, and truly feel.
Many people are feeling a lot of hurt this Christmas, handfuls and handfuls of pain for one reason or another. It isn’t fair and isn’t explainable, yet it’s still there. This day may be understandably tough because of the extra feelings associated with it. My favorite holiday card I received this season simply said, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light.” Shortly after opening up that envelope, I adopted that as my second holiday motto.
But this had me trapped between two seemingly opposite holiday goals: to fully feel, yet to have a light heart. But the more I contemplated these two self-declared objectives, the more I recognized how possible it was and how well the two actually fit together. In order for my heart to be light, I would first need to acknowledge and respect all of the things I felt. With a lot of conscious effort, I think I can proudly say that I have done a good job combining these two mottos and I honestly believe that because of that, this Christmas will be one I’ll always remember.
Wherever this brief blog post finds you, and whatever situation you may be in this holiday season, I sincerely hope that you are opening up your heart and taking the good and the joy from this day and multiplying and exaggerating it as much as you possibly can. Just like a child would. And to steal from my kids’ Crazy Great Aunt’s holiday card (and the writers of the pretty song): Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light.