Thursday, December 22, 2011


Christmas is always a wonderful time of the year ... even, I dare say, for those who are not christian. It is a time for family and friends and getting together to share ... especially in the way that every culture in the world shares memorable moments and occasions ... with food and drink and the giving of gifts. On Christmas Eve the excitement in the homes that are fortunate enough to have young children is so intense that many parents wonder if the little ones will ever fall asleep.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about Christmas this week ... not only about its religious and historical significance, but what the festival has come to mean in the hearts of millions of families around the world. When I was a little boy Christmas simply meant toys under the tree on Christmas morning. As I grew older, I began to appreciate the gathering of the family for Christmas lunch/ dinner (in my house we always had a very, very late lunch at about 5pm ... or, if you like, early dinner). I didn't notice the 'empty' chairs at first around the Christmas table ... those family members who had passed on or couldn't be there for whatever reason ... nor did I notice the hint of sadness in the eyes of my parents and older folk who had gathered. There were too many happy songs to be sung and I sang all of them!

But as the years have passed I have become more and more aware of the 'empty' chairs ... grown children in Australia, loved ones who have passed, and others who for one (good) reason or another simply cannot be there.

So, does this mean that those of us who have had the pain and sadness of losing a loved one this past year (or at any other time) should cry long tears at Christmas time? Well, if we want to. But I prefer to remember the words of the poet who said

"Life is real, life is earnest
And the grave is not its goal.
Dust thou art and to dust returneth
Was not spoken of the soul"

No. Christmas is a wonderful time ... and Christmas is (amongst other things) about life, glorious life. Remember those who have passed ... by all means. Shed a tear for them if you want. But on Christmas morning draw a deep breath and enjoy being alive. Christmas is a time for everybody to reflect, be happy and (most importantly) share with family and friends. It is, after all is said and done, a time for love.

Merry Christmas to all my readers and to your families.

1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas to You and Your Family as Well! Your blogs are excellent and thought provoking!

    Don Mohammed
    West Palm Beach FL