If you celebrate, I would like to start by wishing you a very warm and merry Christmas. I know that for most of us, this holiday doesn’t look the same as it has in the past. Mixed in with the sentimentality and warmth might be loss, grief, the overwhelming absence of ones we wish we could be with. For many this month marks the end of a very long year, full of trials, difficulty, and altered expectations. There is no denying the sorrow and hardship this year may have held for you and I want to keep a space for these very valid feelings on a day that is usually such a joyful one.
I believe we can always recognize the gifts that life has for us, even if they’re not what we expected; the losses of this year throw into sharper relief that which we still possess. If you’re able to spend this holiday with a loved one, hold them tight. If you’re celebrating with your friends or family remotely instead of physically, what a blessing to still be able to have their faces and voices if not their embrace. If all you have this year are memories, surround yourself with them. Photos, stories, letters, recipes, inside jokes: these are all ways that the ones we love stay in our lives and in our hearts even if they feel far away at the current moment. Human connection is always a gift and those we love are truly more precious than anything that could be wrapped in a box.
The gift that Christmas holds for us is rarely receiving a new possession; it’s the spirit of gratitude itself. It’s a chance to recognize, as a thousand Christmas stories and movies have shown us, that gathering our loved ones to us is something we should never take for granted. I hope today you are able to hold someone you love, even if this is via a phone call from states away. I hope that today can hold warmth for you, even if it’s just a space you create for yourself to be grateful to be alive, to taste your favorite desert or sing your favorite song or look our your window at the sky and think about all thats still to come. The love you hold for yourself is as important as the love you hold for anyone else and I hope your help yourself to a bigger dose than ever on this day.
I want to end by telling you how thankful I am for you. If you feel lonely this year I hope you can count me among your community and know that you are held and loved and important this day and all days. What is community if not those we share our stories with and connect with even when life is hard? If you are here, with me, reading this right now, I want you to know how much gratitude I hold for you. I’m beyond grateful that you would spend a moment in this space with me, connecting with my words.
I want to wish you a very merry Christmas, a chance to be thankful for the connections you have or the strength you’ve gained or the enumerable ways you’ve grown in the past twelve months. I hope you find a special brightness today.