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Sunday, 25 December 2016

"Peace on Earth" etc. etc.

Merry Christmas! I am thrilled and grateful to be with my siblings and parents for Christmas, as well as with a number of friends-who-feel-like-family in the days surrounding the holiday. I'm enjoying it quite a bit :)

About 25 years later, my siblings and I still indulge in
silly laughter around my parents' Christmas tree.

But I also know that holidays, more than the average day, can place a megaphone to the pain in our lives. Maybe it's the first Christmas without a particular loved one. Maybe you aren't with family or friends or other loved ones. Maybe gift buying has made you broke. Maybe you feel lonely, or wistful, or apprehensive, or sad, or empty, or confused about what is really important.

I find myself in some of these spaces.

I think these pains are legitimate and so are the questions evoked by them. This is my advice--to all of us who have moments (or extended moments) of hardship in the holidays: try to glean what good stuff you can from this opportunity for such reflection. Try to use it as a time to explore yourself deeper and know yourself better. Try to look at the most frightened, puffy-eyed part of you and tell yourself 'you are loved, and you are going to be okay.' Try to walk forward--not running away without ever looking back, but walking steadily with your eyes fixed on where you want to be, yet comfortable to glance around and look your past square in the eye. It's an important part of you, and whatever you've walked through is what allowed you to get here. Try to continually reorient yourself so that you are simultaneously wrapped up in love, supported by love, and are walking toward love. Try to let your heart and hands be loosed of any unnecessary things you've been carrying; it's easier to walk forward without them. Try to ask someone else for a hug, or a listening ear, or a walk, or a sleigh ride if/when you need it. It's okay to need it.

my sister took this in Cypress

There's a beautiful Christian tradition in some churches to physically "pass" the peace of Christ from one person to the next. I've partaken in this whilst in a Syrian Orthodox Church in India: one person starts with the intangible "peace" held symbolically in his hands and, as he passes it to 2+ people, it gradually makes its way through the congregation. It's a beautiful way of enacting the symbol of spreading peace on earth. And this--the celebration of a birth of a baby who people believed would bring peace on earth--is a worthwhile Christmas reminder. It may be about giving/receiving gifts, it may be about spending time with family+friends (both of these can be done in healthy or unhealthy ways, I think), but it's also about peace. And that encapsulates a whole lot of things. I hope you partake in peace this Christmas

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