Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Christmas pledge!!

It's that time of year again, Christmas. This year I am trying to figure out why the holidays are so stressful for so many people. For one thing it’s the end of another year. Come on now, seriously, how happy can we be that the years are rolling along faster than we ever imagined. Looking around me though so many things have changed, so many dreams have come crashing to the ground.

What's worse though is that regardless of what is happening around us, most of us still  have visions of Christmas filled with family, laughing kids, grandparents that are so sweet, big beautiful houses with fireplaces, snow, and of course joy, endless joy. All of a sudden for one day of the year we all try to be like that, a perfect, porcelain make-belief family, with no cracks or edges. All my life I couldn’t understand why I was so depressed around Christmas...well maybe it was because my family was nothing close to that dream.  My parents argued, my brother and I would pick at each other until someone ended up crying. The next day, Boxing Day, everything was over except for the leftovers and the crazy, shopping-madness during the after Christmas sales. That was it.

Another year and NO MAGIC, at least the kind of magic we see in film and the media!

Then adulthood came with divorce and the joy of sharing your son on the holidays. Christmas Eve with dad, and Christmas day with me. And the stress and sadness continued. Except now I had the added stress of trying to create this perfect environment for my son. I had sworn my Christmases would be different, they would be special. I was so self-centered about that one day and my sadness. I could not see beyond myself and my small world.

After so many Christmases under my belt my experience tells me that the dream is only that, a dream that will never be real because IT’S JUST A DREAM ,an illusion. We cannot pretend to be something we are not. We are not dolls, we are people with lives that are sometimes painful and hard and sometimes wonderful. Our parents treat us like 10 year olds even if we're 50 but you know what, we love them anyways and to this day I would trade anything in the world to hear my dad's complaints at Christmas just one more time. And while I’m thinking of how to cook a special Christmas meal there are many mothers wondering how they will find milk for their children. So all it takes to bring me Christmas cheer are blinking lights and presents? Have we become so shallow? It has to be something more otherwise it has no true meaning.

Walking around Athens is enough to show us how we need to be human every moment and every day of the year. We have to educate our heart to feel compassion, solidarity and to simply feel and spread love to those around us. What a wonderful gift to give our children; the gift of an open and giving heart.  

My effort to make Christmas special continues basically for my youngest son, but what I pledge to never do again is to try to change all the things and people around me for that one day. I pledge to make things special and childlike everyday of the year. I pledge to love and care for my family and friends every day, and I pledge to teach my children goodness everyday and not only around Christmas…and most importantly I pledge to remind myself and my children every day that we are part of a bigger picture, and that we all need to work hard to stay human. Finally the joy of solidarity and love are so much more fulfilling than just blinking lights.


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