Sunday, December 26, 2004

Joyous Yule

I'm finding many reasons to be thankful this holiday season. Of course, there's the joy of celebrating the holidays in our nine-month-old house, the decorations, the gifts given and received and the holiday treats. But although I'm blessed by all of those things, they aren't really what I'm thinking about just now. I'm thinking about the fact that none of our family died this year, the fact that my twelve-year-old cat is still spry and apparently healthy, and so are the members of my immediate family. Not only that, but all the gift packages and cards that I mailed out arrived at their destinations on time, and I was able to keep all the holiday promises I made. Just simple things, really, but things that many of us are apt to take for granted if our eyes are not fully open to the world and people around us.

This time of year can be so sad for many people, and it can be so hard to get into the spirit of the holidays. Maybe they've lost a loved one recently or they know that they are about to. I've been there in the past, and although this year was one without such a heavy pall of sorrow, I watch other people going through it and remember what it was like when it happened to me. It's frustrating to know that no matter how much I might want to wave a wand or wiggle my nose and poof, make the bad stuff disappear, all I can really offer is a kind word and whatever warmth friendship or love can muster. There are some things we all must face alone, and the expectation of the holidays for everyone to be happy and joyful can be such a burden when you are the one facing the loss or struggling to make ends meet, or perhaps both.

So this year I am thankful not to be the one currently in those particular trenches, and saddened by the fact that I can't make it all better for those who are. I wish joy to all of you, wherever you are and in whatever circumstances you find yourselves. And I offer a thought both hopeful and sobering at the same time: those circumstances can and will change. Fortunately we as humans are only required to get through one day at a time. A small goal, maybe, but a reachable one. And like the sun rising after the long dark of solstice night, a new day will arrive. Blessings to you, and may this next year bring the change you need and enough joy to make it all worthwhile.

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