It’s Christmas day and I’m having one of those Christmases without much to do. Christmas can be so wrought with emotional baggage and expectations of perfect families and lives full of love, that when our loved ones are absent on Christmas one can feel lonely and lost. I’ve spent other Christmas days of my life alone for one reason or another. Usually if my son spends Christmas elsewhere then I either spend it with friends or sometimes alone. The first time I spent Christmas alone my son was 10 or so. It happened at the last minute that he spent Christmas with his father and I wasn’t prepared with an alternative plan. I remember fighting hard not to be depressed. I cooked myself a turkey (that takes up time) and watched videos and some how got through the day.
But this year, I find I’m having a very different emotional response to Christmas. My son is spending Christmas in Mexico with his family down there. Friends who I often spend Christmas with are low key this year, nor was it possible to get together with my sisters who both live far away. To top if all off, I’m completely broke so couldn’t get into any last minute frenzy of present buying for my son. But oddly enough, a strange calm envelopes me and I feel peaceful with what is. I’m relishing not having to do anything – no cooking to do, no cleaning up. Instead I’m reading a book, spending this time writing, talking on the phone, maybe I’ll take a walk as the sun is shining and it’s beautiful out. There are even a couple of parties I can go to later if I choose.
While doing the morning ritual of face washing, in this state of calm and acceptance, I started thinking about what is Christmas really about anyway. In the ancient days the winter solstice was celebrated by a coming together of family and friends to share stories of love and life during this time of cold and darkness. Love is what buffers us from the darkness. Love is the light which shines forth from us all, connecting us to the source and to each other. Then of course Christianity became the religion of the lands and the birth of Christ was placed on top of this ancient celebration. But still the message is the same. In the darkness the light of love shines and uplifts us to a celebrated realm.
As these thought passed through my head I started to get images of all the people of my life who I have loved and been loved by. Family, my Mom & Dad who passed away long ago, my sisters, my son, aunts & cousins; friends from childhood on – many, many friends in different towns and on different continents; and one ex-husband & lovers with whom I shared brief or sometimes longer moments of intimacy. The faces of these people flashed brilliantly across my mind’s eye and bathed me in the light of love. Physical presence isn’t always possible due to death or distance or a change in life’s desires but once loved has been exchanged it is always present. One of my gifts today is this gift of feeling and understanding the enduring quality of love. Sometimes we feel alone, sometime we are alone, but on a deeper level we are all loved and we are always bathed in the brilliant light of love.
So I write these words in deep gratitude to all who have touched my life. May all your days be filled with light and love.