Another Christmas Day has come and gone. It’s time we turn our attention to 2017 with an open mind, to strive towards bridging gaps between one another with forgiveness and understanding rather than putting up walls which stem from anger and a lack of communication.
But not before taking the time to reflect on the past. Otherwise how can we be sure we’re making any changes at all?
It’s a good idea for most people (religious and secular alike) to ask themselves of the Christmas season’s purpose. I’ve heard the same answer from people of all races, nationalities and creeds. Time off work, an occasion to eat decadent turkeys and copious amounts of chocolate, or either buying things for each other which we will greatly appreciate but ultimately don’t *need* or buying things for each other where little thought went into it; it was just to have *something* for a certain friend/family member.
Except socks. There comes a certain age (around the time we start university) that socks become forevermore a cherished and much hoped for wrapped parcel under the pine tree.
But I digress. While people also respond with something along the lines of ‘to spend time with my family,’ they say it in such a way as to imply that spending time with them is a rare occurrence. Uncles and aunts, grandparents, cousins, and sometimes even our own immediate family members from our childhood: our brothers, sisters, and parents – the people we grew up with, often tend to slip a little bit out of our lives as we become more independent and seek to carve out our own path in the world.
There’s nothing at all wrong with finding fulfillment in building something for ourselves (a career, a family, a new chapter of our life abroad), but remembering where we came from reminds us of the people we have to be thankful for what we’ve accomplished. So don’t they deserve a little more time in our lives for all of that than a few feast days?
It’s in that point that we find an underlying cause for the loneliness that can be experienced during the holiday season. The Christmases of our childhood remind us of our families and moments shared with loved ones. Many people find themselves without that as adults. It’s either through having lived a path that takes them too far away from their family (not necessarily in terms of a physical distance i.e. living abroad), or because of somber memories that seem too painful for any attempt at reconciliation. The less time we share with those indispensable figures from our past, the more we’re reminded of it during the holidays.
It’s more of a romantic than religious thought, but love really does have that undying quality to it; it doesn’t even have to be romantic in nature. No matter how long it’s been since you’ve last spoken to a sibling, or however difficult it was growing up under a parent, any family worth its salt can successfully lay the foundation for that undying love between its members.
Christmas is about more than simply being reminded of that. From one year to the next, we commemorate the happy moments shared between those at the dinner table, and we’re reminded of memories shared between those who are missing.
From one year to the next, those memories should make us strive to never let those people forget how much more they mean to us than just a title such as ‘brother,’ ‘sister,’ ‘mom,’ or ‘dad.’
And that’s always worth more than any present we can buy.