A once in a lifetime holiday season

I can’t say if these strange times we are living are going to be the last of its kind. I cannot predict the future. No one can. I can’t say if it’s possible for things to get any worse. But what I can say it’s possible for things to get better. It’s always possible if we truly make the effort.

Indeed, the holiday season of 2020 is different on all levels. From an external point of view as well as an internal one. We must not allow ourselves to be obsessed with the daily updates in the world today and how each country is handling its policies. It is true that all kinds of celebrations and festivities are cancelled for the safety of all citizens of the world. It is true that the intention behind limiting people from gatherings and close interactions is for their best interest in the long run. Understandably, it is very difficult for people to accept not celebrating the most awaited holiday in the year.

Having said that, I would like to bring people’s attention inwards just a little bit. For a few minutes, let’s put aside the drama and the abrupt changes in our external world, and give a little attention to our internal world. How do you really feel? Ask yourself.

Take a moment to let those words sink in:

“How am I really doing?”

I’m certain, the changes we had to go through this year has been tremendous and unexpected. I know this because I went through it just as you have. We were all faced with challenges and hardships in our lives. We were all confronted with shocking truths about ourselves, the people we love and the world around us. The best part of it, we endured, held on strong, fought the battle and here today still, making the best of this life.

Some of us may have struggled more than the rest. Some of us are still struggling. While some may have found the shore and finally resting from all the winds that blew right in the face. No matter where you are now in your journey, I would like to tell you, “It’s okay. You are okay. You will continue to be okay.” I say this with confidence because I know that we are all capable of finding our way. Take a moment for YOU and savour gratitude for who you are and what you survived this challenging year.

This season is about celebrating your life and sharing it with the people you love. It’s about living in joy and sharing this joy. It’s about giving to everyone you care about. Hence the traditions we used to partake, from presents to Christmas lunches, dinners and fancy parties. We used to look forward to this time of the year. Kris Kringle gift exchange … that was fun. Potlucks at work … yummy yummy. Work Christmas parties… eat, drink and dance the night away. Friends gathering, kids playing, families meeting, social life at its peak during Christmas and new year season. Usually, two to three weeks of fun, eating and drinking. That’s how most people spend their December month.

From a religious perspective, it’s about celebrating the birth of baby Jesus and reconnecting with the miracles of life. We get closer to God in these times. It’s probably one of the few times in the year where churches are full. We are reminded of our innate pureness. We aim to be the best version of ourselves as we reflect on the year that passed and look forward to the upcoming one. We make promises to ourselves that we will do better, give more, forgive more, and even love those who wronged us. Its a time of reflection as much as it is of celebration. No wonder they say: “the magic of Christmas”, indeed it is.

This year, however, celebrations seem to be limited to drive-through Christmas light festivals, or walk-through trails. Perhaps a drive by dazzling houses with Christmas decorations and light shows. And an intimate gathering with people in your household. The spirit of Christmas doesn’t have to change though. We can still decorate and wrap some presents for our families and friends. Instead of giving them by hand, send it by mail. Or get in the spirit and drop it by their doorstep  You can still extend your greetings and love through messages, phone calls and zoom calls. Yes, it’s different and difficult to endure, we will persevere and find a way I’m sure.

Christmas has taken different meanings as the years went by. So, it’s no surprise that the year of 2020 will witness yet another different and unique Christmas. It’s up to each and everyone of us to have this Christmas hold a special meaning in our hearts. Our love is what makes Christmas so. Our efforts of giving love and cheers. It’s not always by the presents you buy and give. It’s not always monetary. It’s by giving pure and true love. It’s by giving your time, a helping hand, a simple gesture that may change someone’s life forever.

It’s time to think of others, rather than only be concerned about ourselves and how Christmas is not as exciting as it used to be in prior years. Get out there and make a difference. Do what your heart feels. Follow your instincts. And make this holiday season truly different, for yourself and others.

Merry Christmas everyone. And may you have a joyful and exciting New Year.

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