Christmas Spirit

by Louisa Daniels

Hurrying to fill in my Christmas cards today, it struck me how incredibly fast the festive season has come round this year. As I scribbled and stuffed, feeling slightly frustrated by it all, I received a message from a friend who is volunteering this Christmas for the homeless charity Crisis. Instantly I was transformed, it reminded me that, despite some current stresses taking place, I have so much that is wonderful in my life because I have health, love, food and shelter.

So, with a good dose of appreciation to warm my boots, I trotted off down to the post office to stamp and send. Stepping up to the counter, I saw the same face I see near enough every week, and I said, with a large grin on my face, 'Hello...I need 15 stamps please. I can't quite believe how fast Christmas has come round this year'. The shop keeper looked at me, and sighed, before telling me that he is dreading Christmas this year because his mother died recently, he is physically unwell, mentally stressed and struggling financially to afford anything surplus. Understandably, for him, it's not going to be a 'great' Christmas because, as he said, 'It just won't be the same.'

I stood for a while (the shop was empty) and we talked a little about his situation, and then we discussed the forecast of an icy storm. At this I, without intending to invalidate his previous concerns at all, said, 'It must be so hard for people out there, on the streets, cold and hungry. I don't think any of us realize just how lucky we are', and at that point, the shop keeper looked at me with a gentle smile and said, 'Yes, I know, it must be so hard'.

The fact of the matter is, all of us have lives, and we all feel differently about Christmas; for some it can be laden with bad memories and dread, and the perceived default attitude of 'Festive Cheer' can make it all the more disheartening, and quite frankly, cruel. On top of that, as we know, the economic down turn has forced most people to completely rethink what Christmas means to them now that they can't afford to consume the way that previous years allowed, and, obviously, at the extreme end of this, people are loosing their homes. Not to mention all those who are suffering beyond belief throughout the world.

Rest assured, I am not trying to lecture people to remember what they have to be thankful for, nor am I attempting to sing (rather badly) 'Do they know it's Christmas time'.

Instead, I am sending a Christmas wish, and I hope that everyone, no matter what their circumstances, will find something to smile about this festive season, and that they will feel a comforting warmth inside because of it. 

Comments

Yes I just came across your article. I have a lot to be thankful for for sure but like everyone my plate is full of mixed emotions this Christmas. My only child just left to spend Christmas in Disney Land after I cooked him, his Fiance, my Man and his son a beautiful Christmas dinner on Thurs. Complete with presents to both of them. He left without giving me so much as a card or wish for a happy Christmas! This has hurt me deeply and to top it off he has left their dog in my care while they are gone. So here I am trying to find some Christmas spirit among that and a multitude of other things going on in my life. Any suggestions?
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