A Christmas Carol?
A Christmas Carol?
“Happy, Happy Christmas that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth and transport the traveller back to his own fireside and quiet home” – Charles Dickens.
Yes we are again approaching the festive season, which brings with it the feelings of anxiety, stress, annoyance and guilt. Or as the carol goes “this is the season to feel guilty, tra la la la laah, la la la la”.
Merry Christmas everyone!!
It seems that our Christmases these days are much different to the one that Charles Dickens wrote about. As the Christmas decorations go up so does our frustration levels. For most the jolly festive season is not jolly and definitely not the least bit festive.
We rush past one another in a crazed consumeristic-fuelled rush, briefly pausing to quickly reminisce about how quickly time flies and that we have no clue where the year as gone, then rushing off to the next sale with a quick greeting… and fail to see the irony of the whole situation.
Maybe take a moment – and a deep breath – and think what does the festive season mean. “Christmas is a season not only for rejoicing but also reflecting”. Indeed it is, Mr. Churchill (Winston Churchill in case you were wondering). But do we really take the time to reflect on the year that passed? Do we take a moment and remember the special moments, re-evaluate the less special ones and just be thankful for all that has happened, good and bad?
The festive season provides the opportunity that we rarely get throughout the rest of the year. Christmas allows us, individually and as a family, to take stock of what has happened in the past year and also enjoy the time we have now – no time like the present they say. New Year’s brings with it the promise of a new beginning, new hopes and possibilities. In a short space of time we can reflect on where we have been, enjoy where we are at, and look forward to where we are going. Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future if you will.
We embrace New Year’s completely, making promises to ourselves and the rest of the world – enter Facebook - while we toast alcohol-inspired wishes and blessings for the future, only to step into the same routine shortly thereafter, often with a bit of a hang-over. Yet New Year’s does indeed bring with it a new opportunity. For as T.S. Eliot puts it “for last year's words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice”. What we did the previous year is in the past. A new year awaits with new challenges and new possibilities. It all depends on how you are going to embrace these challenges.
Is Christmas and New Year’s just another holiday? A reprieve from the drudgery of work and monotony of everyday life? Is it the highlight of the year because now you finally get to indulge in what you have been saving for so long? Do you hide away during this time because the year was just too rough?
Maybe it is time we relook at the end of the year, make the festive season truly festive!! Yes shops and business exploit the time of year with flashy lights, nostalgic Christmas carols and gaudy decorations that seem to appear shortly after Easter. Yes everyone has their opinions on Christmas, and are ever so keen to declare it to the world – again, Facebook. But you can decide for yourself how you want to spend this time. New Year’s Eve does not have to be an alcohol-driven trip down memory lane – any trip driven by alcohol tends to be dangerous endeavour.
Family, friends, the time together – past and present, the challenges we faced, the goals we accomplished. These are things to be celebrated and enjoyed over Christmas. And after that we look forward to the New Year and the promises it brings, opportunities to dream and challenges to embrace.
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘It will be happier’”- Alfred Lord Tennyson.
May the festive season bring you joy and happiness. May your Christmas stockings be filled with joy, and peace and your New Year’s resolutions speak of hope. May these words by Benjamin Franklin be the blessing for 2017: “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours, and let every new year find you a better man”.
And finally, whether you plan to celebrate Christmas in a grand ol’ jolly fashion with all the lights, décor, food and drink; or plan to hide away from the world and sleep until you cannot sleep anymore, let us not forget the most important reason we are celebrating Christmas. The birth of Jesus Christ - our hope and glory – is the greatest examples of a new beginning we could have. Regardless of the year you had to endure, good or bad, Christ’s birth means that we can all believe in a better tomorrow as his purpose in coming to earth was to redeem all of mankind. Let this not be a simple afterthought or a mere cute decoration in our home this festive season, but make it the central theme to all our celebrations, as it was intended to be.
A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.