Again this year, we may miss visiting, sharing a meal and spending time with those we love.
We will feel the full impact of what it means to be separated from family and friends, deprived of all the cherished hugs, with scaled down celebrations and divisions within our families and society. It’s an unsettling time for everyone.
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What we need more of is forgiveness and understanding and less recriminations and blame. Over the years we have forgiven Uncle Myron for dropping the turkey and Aunt Bess for getting a bit tipsy and knocking over the favoured lamp. Grandma has been pardoned for being testy and the twins for being petulant. Most of the family has forgiven you for being, at times, recalcitrant, loud, peevish or stroppy.
How we cope with Christmas is our choice. It’s a choice to be joyful or melancholy. We can conjure up perceived insults, offences and grievances or we can re-ignite the feelings of wonder, delight, tenderness and hope. We can dwell on our misfortune and struggle or we can find comfort in reconciliation, tranquility and harmony. It’s a time of promise.
You can’t have a disagreement by yourself or argue alone. It’s impossible to have a solo dispute or be oppositional single-handedly. You can choose not to take part in negativity and encourage positive discussion. We always need to be charitable in our thinking, compassionate in our actions and accepting in our words.
I, too, may be limited in how I spend the holidays. I have put up my little tree adorned with a collection of tiny Gramma and Morgan ornaments, the orange yarn angel Stacey made in Grade 1, a paper doily and plastic spoon angel Morgan made in Kindergarten, a knitted snowman my mother made. My Dad’s silhouette crèche and my grandmother’s little ceramic tree add a delicate glow. The angels, colourful globes, crystal trees and a shiny deer from friends sparkle in the windows.
Nothing would make me happier than to have Morgan with me, going to Mass on Christmas Eve, having breakfast at Donna’s, spending the day with family and then coming home, exhausted, stuffed and happy.
But it may not work like that again this year. I will talk on the phone with those I love, cook some of Morgan’s favourites even though he might not be here. I will put out cookies and milk for Santa, appreciate the serenity and beauty of the season and give prayerful thanks for my many blessings. Even without the kinfolk, the food and chaos, I will be content and fulfilled because I am safe and healthy in my home and I know I am loved.
My Christmas wish is recognition, acceptance and the ability to value all the blessings the Lord has given us whether a little or a lot. May we all embrace His enduring love and know we are never alone.