where are you christmas?

12:31 PM

The year is winding down, mere days left really. And it seems that a lot of us are looking back on it with bittersweet emotions. There was good of course, plenty of it, tucked away in the corners here and there. But for so many, our family included, there was a whole lot of heartbreak. So much in fact that at times the darkness felt suffocating, heavy, pushing out all the air. Some of us lost loved ones and pets, some lost dreams they had been tending to for years, some saw relationships fall apart and some lost homes, jobs or cars. It's often felt like an avalanche, one thing on top of another.
But we go on, day after day. We keep pushing through. Because of our kids, because of our loved ones or because somewhere deep inside of us there is a tiny glimmer of hope that refuses to be snuffed out. And though we may not look back on this year fondly my heart melts with the thought of all those millions of dreams and hopes that are flickering at the promise of a new year. At the promise of a fresh start, a new life, beginning again. For what is more human than the desire to try again against all odds? It's a beautiful thing, the invincibility of the human soul. Our quest to reach our mountaintop no matter what.
I think about the people that will spend the holidays in a hospital room or a nursing home. I think about the parents that will work extra shifts and forgo so much in order to have something to wrap for their little ones. I think about those for whom even the thought of owning a christmas tree is just a dream. I think about my own parents and the many years they spend scrimping and saving just to be able to afford a few gifts for us every christmas. It's enough to make your heartbreak.
And why do we do it? The simple answer, I think, is magic. We desperately want the chance to gift our children not a doll, car or train set. What we're really gifting is magic - this idea that something wholly wonderful and special can just... poof!! Appear! So we have them write lists and talk about the toys endlessly. They dream and dream of sugarplums and tiny doll prams and books and they know that on christmas morning they will all be there, neatly wrapped and tied with a bow. It's an exercise in magic.
There's very little magic in the life of most adults so we jump at the chance to spoil our children with it. As adults we are taught the harsh reality of the fact that you may dream and hope and work towards something and it may still never materialize. As adults life sometimes feels like opening empty box after empty box. A sad, heart wrenching joke. The thought of a child experiencing this is unbearable to us as parents so we do everything we can to keep the dream alive, even if for us it has long disappeared. We live vicariously through their smiles, their gasps of awe and the way a strand of christmas lights can make their sweet faces glow.
So if this year has been tough for you, if like me you're finding it hard to get into the christmas spirit, perhaps we can unite in our heartache and warm each other just by being in union. Though this christmas doesn't feel as lighthearted and joyful as some there is a depth to it that is new, refreshing and valuable. I've never felt more grateful for the people God has placed in my life. For the kindness of strangers. For the promise that a new year holds and for the hope that perhaps as we near the day of christmas I can rekindle those feelings of unburdened joy and mirth.

God bless you all!

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