Thoughts on the holiday season ahead

Even though it’s only a few weeks before the Christmas holiday. I don’t have much to do – thankfully. Our family keeps it simple since my Mom’s stoke. We don’t exchange gifts anymore. Instead, each of us puts money into a fund that we donate to a local charity, as a family. We know how blessed we are and that gifts don’t make us any happier than we already are. But for someone who has nothing, a little help makes all the difference.

I don’t have to look very hard to see that there are a lot of families struggling this year. With so many lost jobs and rising prices, families are having a pretty hard time. Young children don’t understand why Santa can’t fill the space underneath the tree. They don’t’ understand that you can’t buy new lights for the tree to replace the ones that burned out last year when things weren’t so bad. Children don’t understand that look in a father’s eye when he hears them tell a friend about the new game they’d love to have but that he can’t afford. And, they don’t understand why Mom is so sad. She just doesn’t know how to tell them they won’t be able to travel to Grandma’s this year.

Yes, life is hard for a lot of folks right now. As the season approaches, I am reminded of those who have lost a loved one this year to illness or accident. It will be their first Christmas alone with all the memories of past seasons and happy times. This will be a lonely holiday. I find myself thinking of the elderly in nursing homes, lost in their old memories of times gone by. Will there be anyone to hold their hand on Christmas and offer a smile while listening to their stories?

My mind wanders today, to the soldiers far from home and the families praying for their safe return. And then there are the first responders, the medics, the firemen, the police, who will spend the holiday helping others while their families celebrate without them. I think of those that are sick, knowing that this will be their last Christmas with loved ones. How do you smile when your time is so short?

It would be so easy to be sad but I can’t be. I have so much faith in the human spirit; the goodness in people, and I know that around the world, people are reaching out to make the holidays a little brighter for those in need. As hard as things are these days, I am encouraged by the people I know who are generous and caring and who I know will be doing as much for others as they do for themselves. It gives me hope for the future.

The holidays will come and go but the compassion I see all around me will go on. It tells me that there is far more good in the world than evil and that is what feeds my dream of a brighter tomorrow for all the world. Yes, I am a dreamer but I’m not the only one.

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