I am currently sitting in my lounge, in my pyjamas, snuggled under a blanket with a glass of red wine. The fire is on, the candles are lit and the fairy lights are twinkling on the tree. The house is clean and tidy, the food shopping has been done, the gifts are wrapped and nestled under the tree, and for the first time in a good few years I am ready to enjoy the Christmas festivities a week ahead of the big day itself.
Being a teacher, I usually find myself swept into all the craziness and energy of the latter end of the Autumn term and find myself only thinking about Christmas at home when the holidays have arrived, rushing around on Christmas Eve buying presents and trying to sort the house. This year I have been organised, and it has felt good. I am peaceful, I am calm, I am full of joy and I am thoroughly enjoying Christmas time and everything it brings.
So when I’ve been out and about this last week, I’ve breathed in the cold air, I’ve sipped hot coffee while watching other shoppers bustling about, I’ve paused to listen to the brass bands and the carol singers and I’ve reflected quite a lot on what Christmas time means to me and what it brings.
Christmas is such a bittersweet time for many. The idyllic, perfect Christmas can be so hard to achieve as our expectations can sometimes be so high. We wish for family, peace, joy, laughter … love. Often, the reality can fall short. We may bicker, we may not have picked the perfect present we thought we had, we may burn the sprouts, we may find it all a little too chaotic. But. We must never lose sight of the things we do have – the people we do have around us.
While this time of year can be a perfect time of reuniting and coming together, it can also be a terribly painful reminder of the people missing from our lives – the people we lose along the way, for any number of reasons, as we journey through life. And especially, for those people that have lost all and face a time of sadness and loneliness. Because, as much as we go through our own struggles or hardships, and as I always keep in the forefront of my own mind, there is always someone worse off, going through something tougher than we are ourselves.
And so, this Christmas my personal resolve is to ‘be in the room’. To give my family, friends and loved ones I am with over the festive period the quality of time they deserve and give as much of me as I can; create memories, show love and invest in each and every one of them. But, to also ensure I look around too, to look outside of my immediate world. To recognise those around me that might need that extra little bit of love. Because Christmas is love. The whole meaning is love. And everyone should have their moment where they feel love. So let’s all make sure we look around, pick up the phone, knock on the door, send that letter, give a smile, tell that person you love them and spread some peace, love and joy! Happy Christmas all!