“Christmas it seems to me is a necessary festival. We require a season when we can regret all the flaws in our human relationships: it is the feast of failure, sad but consoling.”
~ Graham Greene
Think about this one for a moment. If you’re like me, at first that whole “feast of failure” thing sounds a bit odd. But when you really chew on what Graham is saying here, it starts to make more sense. We have a tendency to forget about people during the rest of the year. Perhaps we get into stupid arguments over trivial things. We forget to cherish our relationships. Work and other happenings end up taking precedence over our relationships with our friends and family. In short, we are often failing at being the best that we can be with those friends and family.
And then the magic of Christmas comes along. We remember how much we love our friends and family. Yes, we may buy them presents, but we also often honor each other with our presence. Those moments of appreciation and quality time heal those wounds that we didn’t realize we were starting to create over the past 11 months. We become better people.
Isn’t that why we have all of those feel-good Christmas books and movies? We talk about wanting that Christmas spirit all year long. I think it is because we realize that we lose a lot of those feelings and want to do better.
How do you feel at this time of year?
“Christmas is, of course, the time to be home – in heart as well as body.”
~ Garry Moore
Every year at this time of year, those memes go around with the Christmas To-Do list that has been altered. You know the one I’m talking about. Usually at the top it says something about buying a present. “Buying” is usually crossed out and then it says, “Be” instead. So “Be present.” I think too often we get wrapped up in that materialistic part of Christmas and forget about the joy of being with our loved ones. Honestly, it’s the time spent together that elicits the most memories, not just the things that we get.
I still remember those teenage years where the last thing that I wanted to do was to go to my grandmother’s house for the family Christmas dinner. I wanted to play with my new “toys” that I had gotten. I remember one in particular where I sat in a chair in the corner listening to my new Madonna and Lemonheads cassette tapes with my headphones and pretty much ignored everyone else around me.
As I grew older, I began to realize how much I cherished the time spent with my family. We had more memories of being together and having fun as opposed to the actual things that we received and gave. After I moved away from home, as in moving a few states over, I always made it a priority to get home to be with them. Now that they are all gone, I am so grateful that I did that. I was present for those presents. And I also tried hard to let go of stress that was getting me down from work and life and paid attention to my family.
How will you make yourself be more present this year?