Happy holidays, merry Christmas, and a peaceful, blessed and joyous New Year to all! It is a time of mixed feelings for many. There is a busy-ness as people rush from frantic activities to their overwhelming "to-do" list and push onward and forward. There is excitement particularly for children as they participate in their own events at schools and churches, synagogues and with their families. There is also a sense of bah-humbug, anxiety, depression and a general irritation that can strike at any moment or rests within throughout the season. The singers can irritate, the traffic can madden and the lights and trees and tinsel can annoy.
Personally, I love the decorations of the season. We walked through the local botanical gardens last night and not only were the lights beautiful but it was inspiring to think of all the hours and hours of volunteer time spent stringing millions of lights. Children oooohed and aaaahhhed as the skipped and tunneled through the crowds. Grandparents and great-grandparents slowly made their way along the pathways, supported by their families. Through a partnership of the city, parks, a local radio station, local merchants and thousands of volunteers preparing for months the light display is magical. Some find the Christmas crowds overwhelming. I find it comforting, at least in short durations. It confirms my belief in my fellow humans as we gather together to appreciate the work and beauty of this light display. This morning the newspapers scream out the chilling news of another attack on two police officers. Our community has been under fire. Five officers killed and three seriously and critically injured since October. Two of the three attackers killed by return gunfire. More shootings on a daily basis darken the season. A mother and her baby were shot and killed just last night, in their home, by a man with a restraining order. We could be walking in terror each minute of each day based on the onslaught of news n our world. Yet our time together last night simply enjoying a light display gave me a sense of all the good, ordinary, and kind people on this earth.
Nature provides her own decorations as well. We have a 30 foot holly tree in our front yard that is full of red berries nestled within the impossibly glossy green leaves that cannot be replicated by man or woman. When I am tired of the crowds of the holidays I stand under this tree and I am filled with an equal sense of peace on earth. I love this tree when the berries are lit by sunlight, in the mist and rain, and occasionally like last year, covered in snow. A fleeting feeling perhaps, and fragile in this current world but treasured and kept in a special place in my heart. Merry Christmas to all...and a wish for peace on earth.