For a lot of people around the world this year Christmas Day might just be another day in a difficult year. In a work of wars, financial crisis and global warming there are a lot of people worrying. What will it be like for you this year?
It can be easy to get lost in the consumerism that surrounds us and just get into hedonistic pleasure. After all we have been through some tough time over the last couple . Covid is still with us both as an illness and also as a psychological trauma that for many is having a PTSD type effect. It is easy to forget that the origins of Christmas were in a religious commemoration. It is a time of the coming together of family and friends, a joyful time for children and young people, a time for giving and receiving, time to let your hair down and have a jolly? Office parties, champagne and chestnuts roasting on an open fire?
However for some it may not be such a good time. Perhaps we have the awareness that there are those who are no longer with us. This is our first year in our family without Auntie Vera a sad loss for us all. Christmas for many can be a time of loss and bereavement. It may even mean that for some of us many have died and there is really no one left but us. It may be that we have no choice but to spend Christmas day alone. Christmas, for some, can be an unhappy time.
For Christians Christmas is the festival that commemorates the birth of Christ, hence the mass for Christ. However, the previous belief systems had festivals that were celebrated at this time of year and existed long before the birth of Jesus. The festivals at this time of year were acknowledging the end of the longest night and the start of the lengthening day. It is the concept, often referred to in both religious, and psychological texts, as time when we are coming out of the darkness into the light.
These celebrations of the darkness of winter turning toward the light of spring was the solstice for the Druids and Yule for the pagans. Though the timings are slightly different the same concept is there for Hindus in Diwali, the festival of light, and in Islam there is Ramadan and Eid.
Christianity had tended to piggy back on the Solstice festivals to create the celebration of Christmas. Most authorities suggest that the birth of Jesus was actually later than December 25th.
But, whatever you are celebrating at this time of year, it may be a religious or pagan or simply the celebration of the coming together of your family and friends, not unlike the gypsy horse fair, it is a time for the connection of people and the acknowledgement of society, community and, humanity.
Getting into the spirit of good will
At this time of year in the run up to Christmas people tell me how they will be required to spend the day, perhaps sitting around the dinner table, with people that they don’t like. This is where the good will comes in. It may tax all your powers of forgiveness and your ability to live the law of allowing. That is, allowing people to be what they are and not needing them to be different or what you want them to be.
My hope is that if enough of us can learn to look after each other, not just at Christmas but all year, we might just learn to live in happiness and peace.
If we all look after each other we will all be okay
If you haven’t already done go onto YouTube and listen to “Dominique the Donkey”. It might make you laugh it does me. Or it might get get stuck rattling around your head like a pea in a tin. When you are with someone who is driving you round the bend just sing it to yourself in your head and smile.
If you can, have a good one. And if you can be generous and spread a little love.