Christmas is probably one of the best times of the year. Family coming together, celebrating, giving, laughing, sounds of joy filling the air. It is a time when many of us celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and remember the very first Nativity. This year more than ever, after all we have been through, we could really do with something to celebrate. But for some of us, this Christmas will be unlike any other that has come before it. We’ll get to that in a moment.
I love Christmas, because it brings a smile to so many people’s faces, no matter what they have been through. A lot of us have been through hell this year. There were the bushfires at the beginning of the year. COVID-19 came along and threw our world upside down and inside out, keeping us from seeing our family, friends and loved ones, putting us on edge. Many would have suffered from mental health conditions due to the constant lockdowns and isolation. It has affected us all in different ways, but I think we can all agree it’s been a really tough year. So, we can all use a bit of Christmas cheer to reignite our hope and bring some much-needed happiness to our souls.
For me personally, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs this year. It’s been a pretty bumpy ride. Although I went through a stage for months where I was in a pretty bad way mentally, in the second half of the year, more from around September onwards, I found my grounding and became more motivated than I had ever been before. My life turned around, and that was truly a Godsend. But I’ll speak more to all of that in my yearly wrap up next week. This one isn’t about me. It’s about you, all of you. Because 2020 has not discriminated. We have all faced many hardships this year, and we all deserve to be happy, if at the very least for a day.
Now this Christmas is going to be different for some of us. While some of us will get to celebrate the occasion with family and friends, having a feast and giving gifts, there are still a lot who will not be afforded this opportunity on Christmas Day. Those who have been affected by COVID-19 in some degree, be it directly, being in an area that has been designated a hotspot and being told to isolate, or having restrictions imposed on them by governments, will have a somewhat different Christmas this year, being unable to celebrate with their family and friends (for some it may be all, for others they may be able to still celebrate with those in their household). In particular in NSW right now, our Christmas is restricted in that we are only allowed no more than ten people to visit our homes on Christmas Day. This is just adding insult to injury after all we have been through this year. And so, I have a message to share that will hopefully bring some warmth and joy to everyone at this time when I know many of us will be feeling deflated.
I know we have all been through a lot this year. And I know many of us are still going through it. But Christmas is a time when we can stop, even for just one day, and consider all that we are grateful for. We can take time to reflect on what good things have come out of this year. As we think about these joyous things, a smile will no doubt begin to beam from our faces, in turn lifting our spirits so that happiness may bubble up inside us, bringing about a warmth within us that brings us great comfort.
Christmas is a time of hope. As I have spoken to before, hope is such an incredible thing. One of the three members of what I call the Trinity of the Heart (Faith, Hope and Love), all it needs is a spark to set ablaze, to come alive within our hearts. Hope nurtures the soul, bringing about a sense of peace in times of anguish. After all we have been through this year, I think we could all use a little hope in our lives. Even now, as all our Christmas plans are thrown into chaos and uncertainty, we need to hold on to those little sparks of hope, no matter how disheartened we might feel. There is a quote from Desmond Tutu: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” This year we have been surrounded by darkness, but, as I have learnt, just one ray of light, one that may even be unexpected, can guide us out. That reminds me of another quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” This year has taught me that much is true. Only in the dark times I went through this year did the stars in my life come out to greet me and change my life.
Christmas is typically a time when family and friends come together to celebrate and share in the spirit of the season. This year that might not be possible for many of us. But that should not discourage us from getting in touch with those special people in our lives on Christmas Day. To those who won’t be able to see their family, friends and loved ones on Christmas Day as they usually would, I say this: Spend time on the day contacting and talking to those people you care about. Be it a phone call, text/messaging through various apps, video calls or whatever else, we have the technological tools at our disposal to still spend time with those we care about on Christmas Day, even if we are not able to be in the same room as them.
To put it bluntly, I know it sucks that we can’t all be together for Christmas this year. I’m going to miss seeing my extended family, cousins and all. It’s devastating not being able to have a normal Christmas after all we have been through this year. Personally, I’m going to spend Christmas Day contacting those I care about, because even though we cannot all gather in the same place, I want to feel at least some sense of normality about Christmas. I might be lucky enough to see a few, but regardless, I’ll be making sure to reach out to them on Christmas Day. I’m sure I will not be alone in this sentiment.
To all those who are in isolation over Christmas, I can only imagine what you are going through. It’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and I hope that you’ll still be able to find some hope and joy this Christmas, be it through contacting family and friends, or even through reading this message.
Christmas may look different this year, but we should not let that stop us from celebrating the occasion. We cannot let this virus take Christmas from us. The human spirit is an incredible thing. It can help us to persist, to keep going, even through the darkest of times. Combined with the Christmas spirit, its effects are amplified. We have all been through a lot of darkness this year, but I hope that at this special time of the year we can find the light.
God Bless you all and have a very Merry Christmas.