The Christmas season is an interesting time.
When we’re young, we focus on the gifts. The materials ones, that is. And parents focus on making their kids happy and getting them the season’s hottest toys. Grandparents dote on their grand kids and get to spend quality time (especially if the case was as mine was, where my grandparents lived many states away), that in some ways, is cherished more by the adults than it is the children (until we grow up and realize we should have been more present).
When we’re adolescents and young teenagers, (which is a notoriously treacherous time for all who have deal with the irrationality and wrath of hormonal teens) a shift begins for some of us. Parents grow older. Grandparents grow older, too. There is more awareness (hopefully) for young people regarding what the Christmas season is truly about.
Between the teenage years and late twenties/early thirties, most of us begin to experience loss. And if we as young adults are experiencing loss, so are those older than us – our parents and grandparents. The holiday season is an unfortunate time in that there is an uptick in illnesses and deaths for the elderly. Both sets of my grand parents passed away on either end of the winter season, thus forever marking the holidays as a bittersweet time for me (and for my parents).
But these events also, at least for me, help me focus on the “reason for the season.” Life is short. Some lives are longer than others, while others are cut short way before the rest of us are ready for. But the fact remains – each of us is only gifted one go at this thing called life, and this is a season in which we are reminded of the gift that it is. And that we need to put aside our differences and quarrels and come together as family, as friends, as strangers, as enemies, as society.
There is so much negativity and anger and hatred in this world that it scares me. And yet, on a given day, you can witness someone being kind for the sake of being kind. Of helping a stranger. Of paying it forward, in however big or small a gesture.
It makes me wonder: Why do we wait until the holidays to bestow grace and kindness and love to those around us? Why is it so difficult for the majority of us to find compassion in our hearts, or remember that we are capable of giving the best version- the most loving version- of ourselves not only to ourselves, but to the world – every day of the year?