Ten Things of Thankful 130 (Holiday Hopes) #10Thankful

It’s the 11th of December as I write this, and I haven’t listened to Bach’s Christmas Music yet. For the first time in perhaps all of my 32 years, I’ve not heard the rich timpani of ‘Tonet ihr pauken‘ and lost myself in the genius of the most perfect Christmas music of all time, as sugarplums and visions of Christmas trees surrounded my mind in be-glittered, tinsel-sparkling beauty and the scent of pine.

I suddenly feel very sad, as though that music and my usual ritual of forcing myself to wait until December 1st to listen to it, before becoming fully Christmasified, no longer belong to me. So I sit, in a room devoid of festive decorations, looking at the photos of Christmas trees scroll past on Facebook and Instagram, and I’m numb. Later I will go to the supermarket and pick up as many cardboard boxes as I can, to go with the parcel tape I bought earlier. This weekend I start packing For Real. Next weekend I move out, to spend Christmas with my Mum and WonderAunty…perhaps my last on this soil for a while.

It’s surreal, and not at all festive. I am lost amidst the fairy lights and shelves (and shelves and shelves) of intentionally tempting foodstuffs – a waif amongst drifts of wrapping paper and torrents of canned good cheer pouring from speakers into the ears of people too busy, busy, busy to stop and think about the words.

It was still November, and my own mind was full of grand ideas and sparkling possibilities, all of which glossed over the fact that Christmas *would* happen, and I would somehow need to be present. I was transfixed by the idea that next Thanksgiving, I’ve been INVITED! I was intent on my hopeful move to Murica next year, and no shred of mistletoe or flutter of angel-wing had yet permeated the edge of my tunnel vision. I was idling behind two of my patients, their old-lady words bouncing harmlessly off the boundaries of my consciousness until one uttered a simple, compelling sentence, which seared its way to the centre of my attention:

“Christmas used to be something we looked forward to.”

Her friend agreed, and their conversation continued into the realms of commercialism, time pressures and family expectations, meanwhile the truth of that line burned a warning in my mind’s eye – Christmas has become something to be dealt with, negotiated, stage-managed and at every level, orchestrated to best demonstrate…what? Decorating abilities? Baking skills? Competent mediation between family members? Winner of the ‘best gift’ award?

It hasn’t lost its sparkle – that’s strident, insistent, and over-bearingly glittery. It has lost none of its cheer, for that too is doled out in ready-prepared spoonfuls, as often as possible. If I’m honest, it hasn’t lost it’s heart or its love, or the way families still want their children to experience magic, their elderly to enjoy being cherished, and their adults to work hard to do whatever it is that brings the edges together and wraps it all up tight in one day of joy and wonder.

But it might have lost some of its hope.

A friend of mine told me she had a nightmare that she had put her daughter on a plane to travel to see family, had gone out getting groceries for just herself, when she realised everyone around her had frozen in shock and were gaping at the television screens in the store. The news was playing, showing countless images of planes falling from the sky, and she realised that the terrorists had taken over the airspace everywhere, and none of the planes were going to make it. One of which had her daughter on board. A horrific dream, but one with its anxieties firmly rooted in reason and recent events.

Another friend of mine just isn’t in the mood, and can’t concentrate on anything Christmassy – she just doesn’t want to, and her mind won’t let her settle happily to the tasks at hand – why should it? They’re overwhelming sometimes.

Yet another friend will be alone in a foreign land, trying desperately to find her lost love.

Still other friends will be facing their first Christmases without loved ones, others with the knowledge that health is a fragile thing, which could snap at any moment. Christmas is easily overshadowed by grief or the precariousness of life, yet remains insistent on good cheer.

There will be people facing Christmas this year whose lives have been turned upside down, devastated by any one of the too-numerous-to-count disasters (both man-made and natural) which have happened this year. There will be people facing Christmas whose finances make a time of indulgence an impossibility. There will be people facing Christmas for whom the burden of the season is unbearable.

Not all of them will make it.

Christmas used to be something we looked forward to

Today I was challenged to share my hope for the season, but somehow hope seems too small, too frail, and too abstract. It’s vital to each of us, in our hearts and in our minds, for it is made of imagined happy endings and carefully wrought plans. It is frosted with ideas and contains all the sweetness of inspiration that we need to keep going…but the concept alone is no longer enough.

This Christmas needs action. It needs purposefulness, attitude, behaviour and DOING.

I hope that my maybe-last-Christmas-in-England is filled with love and light. I am committed to spending time with people, and intentionally being present with them.

I hope that somehow, people who are facing financial difficulties will be able to find resources and ways to manage the season so that they still have a little festive cheer. I will contribute to efforts and organisations which offer that assistance.

I hope that amongst all the commercialism and catch-up and stress, the true message of Christmas isn’t lost – that #LoveWins. I will act with love towards others, acknowledging their inherent worth and show that I care about them, whoever they are.

I hope that good will can flourish amongst all mankind. I will write and speak and act and expound the ways that we all matter, and that we’re all more alike than different, and that in the end we’re stronger together because we’re always and everywhere better when we’re in relationship, taking someone else’s needs into consideration alongside our own.

I hope that peace and unity can work their magic and bind people together in festive happiness rather than the season being used to divide and cause arguments. I will determinedly make connections and try to establish meaningful, responsive relationships with others, no matter how fleeting, seeking to establish those points where we can agree, and rejoicing in them.

I hope that I will be a source of fun and comfort and love this Christmas. I will behave in ways which at least make *most* of the people who know me, happy that they do (I offer no guarantees).

I accept that my hopes might not all come true. I accept that I’m likely to behave in ways which contradict my hopes, or which prove I’m a let-down, or utterly wrong. I accept that there will be times when I get it *precisely* right, and the world will seem full of joy and possibility. I accept that I’ll probably forget all the people out there who are struggling, as I immerse myself in the doing and enjoying of my own Christmas experience.

But I am determined that this Christmas will be one of awareness, intention, and ACTION…and yes, of hope.

Because that Christmas message is true – #LoveWins – but love is more practical than hope; it’s more dynamic. And it needs people to make it happen. It’s a verb; something we have to commit to doing, even when the situation or our feelings or our thoughts are in opposition. It’s a verb with a warm fuzzy veneer and a glowing, iron-clad lion’s heart, if we’re getting it right. It smoulders and waits for us to engage, because LOVE needs awareness, intention, and action. Love needs US.

You and I – WE are the hope. Let’s DO SOMETHING.

LOVE needs awareness intention and action

Thankfuls:

❤ People to love and be loved by ❤
<3The desire and means to make a difference ❤
❤ Abundance and the knowledge that I’ll be okay ❤
❤ Parcels in the post (Kimmie and Michelle, I LOVE YOU BOTH so, so much, and
THANK YOU for your absolutely perfectly wonderful spot-on generosity) ❤
❤ Connections (all of them) ❤
❤ Big ideas and the chance to try them ❤
❤ Solidarity against gravity and a place to fight it ❤
❤ Exciting plans and people who support them ❤
❤ A box to sit in at work, because it was fun and I could
❤ You, you, YOU ❤

Tree Box Fun

 

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50 thoughts on “Ten Things of Thankful 130 (Holiday Hopes) #10Thankful

  1. I haven’t even put the tree up yet. Christmas kind of snuck up & hit me like a ton of bricks this year.
    I just haven’t been into it yet this year. I only experience a slight jingle to those emotions today when going through old photos.

    A friend called early this morning to request my services & when I regrettably had to tell her “not right now” (due to my plate being already full) she simply said:
    “Hon, sometimes ya just need to slow down.”

    It stayed with me.
    & I heard her voice in my head as I read this.

    You precious souls. ❤ Both know how to speak to my crazy mess of a head.

    I hope your Christmastime is lovely, dearest.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It has been harder to get in the spirit – there is so much out there that scares me, and makes me worry about the future of our world. But that’s even more reason to hold onto hope, and spread goodness where we can.

    Your words help spread goodness, and remind us that we can do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am forever grateful for you and the words you put into my heart.
    Many times/day, the words Love Wins cross my mind and soon your face accompanies the notion. You’re a blessing, and now you’ve given me hope. Hope wins…another phrase that will bring my heart to your smile on the days I need it the most.
    Love you the pieces! xo

    PS: A parcel!?!?!?!? Oh my–that sounds so deliciously awesome. Thank you, love

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, my precious Honeybee. What am I to do with you? You really are made of sugar, spice and everything nice! It’s in your soul your bones your being. Kindness and love ooze out of you with such ease. I love reading your words as they always take me back to LOVE and HOPE. xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It really should be our goal to make Christmas a little better for someone else and not ourselves. Then, when life has us “not feeling it”, we will remember that it’s not just about us. And now I’m going to try to follow my own advice and get cracking with making this a normal Christmas for my kids

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re a superstar, Dyannedelion, and a true inspiration. *hugs* I hope that they have a thoroughly enjoyable time, and that you have moments of peace and light and wonder through the season, which make it manageable. I think making Christmas better for someone else is such an admirable goal.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I dont think i can say it any better than most of your commentors or you yourself have. My sentiments are probably most like what Kristi just said. Service is where i find my most satisfaction all year but especially this time of year when some feel at their worst and need that infusion of hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I kindsorta think that we’re *meant* to feel that way – that doing good for others does US good, and that if we all do good for one another, we all get good done for us, we all feel good, and LOVE WINS again…

      Like

  7. Christmas isn’t always the holly jolly season we like to think it should be. I know I will be in an increasingly foul mood right up until we sit down to dinner Christmas Eve. I work hard at keeping it to myself (no need to poop on other people’s parade (much)), but my bad mood still tends to prevail through the month of December.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup. I getcha. I just haven’t AT ALL been able to tap into Christmas spirit. I can see it in others. I know it’s enjoyable and that it’s OUT THERE, but it’s just not in *here* yet…

      Like

    • It matters to me, SO MUCH! It’s the thing which inspires me and energises me and keeps me going. It’s what makes life worthwhile – connection, and knowing that other people connecting is a wonderful, beautiful thing I’d like MORE OF to happen.

      Like

  8. I would have, that the place created when people share, (something of themselves), with other people who share, (something of themselves), then that place, so very not to be found on a map, totally devoid of national identities and religious boundaries and political affiliations…. that place is where Christmas and Thanksgiving and Boxing Day and All Bangers and Mash Day would have been founded on, the first day of that first day Holiday.
    Maybe it’s time to remember that the world is first within , without only second. And that the fact of the place, (where people connect directly with other people, i.e. our old friend ‘identifying with’), is where we all need to get back to… (and, yes, you are correct in what you are thinking at this moment! ‘But that is a place that I must take myself to but without knowing if there will be others… ‘ true, but worth the risk, non?)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As long as the spirit of love wins, there will be hope. Your post touched so many chords with me. The PRODUCTION of Christmas becomes overwhelming and it’s easy to lose the joy and love. The action of giving and sharing love and resources gives me hope that the spirit of love, at least at this time of the year, will collectively balance the horrors and realities of everyday living.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think there is hope. I’ve recently found mine. The last few months I feel like I’ve been spiralling down a well where the darkness was taking over, but I’m fighting back by doing one small thing at a time. AND more importantly, accepting that I cannot do more.
    There is hope in every little gesture we make. I haven’t given up on the human race, although sometimes I don’t like us much. But in my small corner, we are fighting with hope still. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you’ve found hope, and a way out of the downward spiral. I hope that you keep climbing upwards towards light and equilibrium and things making sense. *HUGS*

      P.S. Accepting your own limitations is SO hard, but vital. I haven’t managed it yet.

      Like

  11. Pingback: Ten Things of Thankful 130 (Holiday Hopes) #10Thankful | nganguem

    • Without hope, we’re lost – it underpins the love and the action, I think. Well, mostly, cos I’m pretty sure that it’s possible to love hopelessly, but that’s a rather sadder state of affairs and doesn’t belong to Christmas.

      Here’s to hope #LoveWins

      Like

  12. I love what you say here. I wrote a post about this the other day.
    https://kkherheadache.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/as-long-as-theres-christmas-my-grownup-letter-for-santa-2015/
    I thought about it the other day, how not being in a relationship these days, all I often have to think about is myself. I don’t like this and it is making me want to work hard to think of how I can be there or remember the needs of other people.
    That proposal you read to us earlier on the vidchat was beautiful and I can’t get it out of my head.
    Lately, with all the negativity in the news and going around, as a Canadian looking in on most of the news from the US, well what you read from your perspective is fascinating and I feel like I am looking in on a lot of it, up here in Canada.
    I think there is something there, somehow. I would love to be involved, in any way, no matter how small, if I could, if it ends up happening. I think we, the world, could really use it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m gonna run over and read your post, but I feel like the world is aching to reconnect and find ways to start thinking in connected ways, rather than everyone for themselves. But I think we’ve gotten so used to being this way, we’ve collectively forgotten how to care – it’s your struggle on an international scale, to some extent.

      If there’s any way for you to be involved, I will most definitely let you know. I’m going to continue working on the proposal, and well…watch this space!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I thend (rather firmly) to avoid the religiosity and canned commercial sentimentality of Christmas. My favourite Christmas story is Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas In Wales” – naturally his own reading of it. Although I have heard it in decades, I’m also fond of a skit by Gene Shepard titled “Green Christmas” which includes a tune to the melody of Jingle Bells that starts, “Dashing through the snow in a fifty foot coupe, over the fields we go selling all the way.” Another version of Jingle Bells I liked was one done by barking dogs. The festive season does offer the opportunity to practice that love with awareness, intention, and action you write of. But, in that sense, like the reformed Scrooge, perhaps we can practice to keep Christmas all through the year. Joyful Solstice.

    Liked by 1 person

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