Christmastime means a lot to most people. I think the majority simply enjoy the season with family and friends. There are some general hassles connected with cramming so much into so little time. (And there are expenses.)
There is also a minority who don't particularly like Christmastime. Family isn't always easy. Friends can be bothersome. And some of us have memories that we'd rather not visit. (Some folk simply aren't Christian! How awkward?)
My wife and I went away this year for Christmas. My kids are out of state, and we decided that Palm Springs was a better alternative than hanging out. I have two weeks off, so we'll have some "hanging out" time at home after the 25th.
While in Palm Springs we watched some TV. I saw an episode from Heat of the Night. The main character didn't really like Christmas. Too many bad memories. He got me thinking... of Christmas 1996... The date is recorded on my first wife's tombstone, marking the day of her death and "promotion." Those were sad times: Christmas memories that could easily still haunt me. And sadden me.
While in Palm Springs I also caught part of the movie, "You've Got Mail." It's the story of a man and woman who meet via AOL. This was back before sites like e-Harmony existed. It was a romantic comedy. Once upon a time, I met a widow on AOL. She lived in New York. I lived in California. We exchanged e-mails, support, advice, prayers, and eventually... wedding vows. Our eleventh anniversary was December 19th. We got married over Christmas Vacation my first year of teaching. Christmas memories of happier times.
The last two years children and grandchildren have visited us from out of state. We had some great times, and clogged drains. This year... on November 15th... my oldest daughter had twin boys. No visit this year! (But some nice phone calls.)
Past memories... which are certainly not viewed with 20/20 vision. What I see though is a mixed bag of sad and happy.
Current moments? Two weeks of Christmas vacation! The first three days, I was sick with a cold. This has happened before. I relax from the stress and strain of daily life and my body says, "Good, I've been meaning to tell you... you're sick."
With Kleenex in tow, Leslie and I then spent four days in the Palm Springs area. We got home yesterday. The weather was good. The view was lovely... snow covered mountains rising across the green of a fairway. We took two day-trips to Joshua Tree National Park. It was beautiful, but I had forgotten my camera. Oops. (I do have some great mental slides.)
Christmas is followed by New Year's. I'm glad for that. Not because we have any big plans, but because it stimulates me to look forward. What am I motivated for in the coming year? Enough of contemplating the past, what do I want to fill my current moments with? How will I orchestrate my present to bring me into a pleasant future?
Christmas past is beyond our control. The future is too.
What we have is now. And right now... things for me are pretty good. The dramas and traumas are low-key. My days have lots of bright moments and occasional triumphs!
The tapestry of life is varied. Sometimes the hues are dark, sometimes pastel. That's just the way it is.
Bottom line? For the majority of you... Merry Christmas! (It was ordinary. That's a good thing.)
For some of you... Christmas is over. Yay!
For some of you... who may be in the midst of troubling times... May the God of all consolations lift up your fallen spirits and give you renewed hope for the coming year! (For you... it's not the season to be jolly. But after a bit, the season you are in will change. That's what seasons do! Better times will come.)
Regardless of the type of Christmas you've had, time marches on. The old year is almost over. In fact, the second decade of the New Millennium is upon us!
My wishes for all of you is... Happy New Year! (Look for it.)