What is it about the Christmas holiday that brings so much joy and stress all at the same time? I really used to love Christmas. Now it’s just another day to me. Oh sure, I know it sounds like I’m a Grinch but let’s be fair. To me, Christmas has become a holiday that has way too many folks stressed, rude, and just downright inconsiderate. There’s a lot of people who will argue this point but try getting out of a crowded parking lot. Rarely do people let you out of your space without honking at you or trying to cause a wreck. Then there’s the shopping. Let’s not even go there. It seems every year as if people get greedier by the minute and try to outdo one another to get that one item that everyone else has been talking about.
Sound familiar? I think that’s why I’ve been enjoying so many Christmas movies lately. Sometimes the magic just needs a little bit of help. Just about every charitable organization begs for money this time of year. Heck, colleges start their giving drives around the holidays every year to no avail. Everyone wants money, money, money. Most of the world seems to forget what the magic really is about.
People are the magic. We all have the power within us to be kind to one another and yet it seems that the more the years grow, the more we forget that sentiment until we get older. There are always exceptions. It amazes me how kids can make us remember what the holiday season is really about. There is one family in particular that makes me feel appreciative of what I have versus what I don’t. I’ve mentioned them before. Their mom fought cancer so hard until she had no fight left. Her kids were her light and they still shine. Her light is in them and they in turn, have given me a renewed sense of magic. Her daughter has been a saving grace for me. I understand I’ll never have kids of my own. But this little girl has taught me that just because I won’t have my own children, it doesn’t mean that I can’t be a part of children’s lives. She’ll never understand the gift she gave me and continues to give me by letting me be a part of her life.
When I lost everything I thought mattered in my life, my marriage, my children, my father due to cancer, my job, etc.., it seemed as though I had lost my identity. I lost that magic and holidays were just awful. Christmas really sucked. Somewhere along the way, I let the bitterness take over like Jack Frost had nipped not only at my nose but at my heart. I forgot about the Christmas Magic.
I’d go to Christmas Eve service and go through the motions while I watched everyone around me embracing their loved ones and literally felt as though God had left me behind. The weather may have been cold, but the frigidity in my heart was starting to feel as if the coldest winters would never dissipate. In the last couple of years, things changed. I changed. I think it took the feeling of isolation to make me recognize that we are all wanting to have our spirits warmed.
As I started to change my outlook and immerse myself back into the land of the living, I started seeing areas that I could affect change. What I could give of myself paled in comparison to the joy of the folks that I helped. When you see a child who is broken because of bullying and you can help give them something to look forward to, that’s better than any gift you can put under a tree. When you are able to look at yourself in the mirror and understand that you may give everything of yourself but others may not appreciate your efforts. It’s okay. You are worth it. Life isn’t easy. But it doesn’t have to be miserable. We are in charge of who we embrace our lives. Wallowing in self pity doesn’t allow any magic to touch us if we aren’t willing to open our eyes and our hearts.
I risked everything and yet nothing for the man that I still love to this day. He won’t let me in his life. It’s his loss. Sometimes every angle needs patience and timing. If he’s reading this, I don’t regret telling him how I feel. I do regret not saying things to his face that should have been said. I get that he’s in a lot of pain. I even understand that he doesn’t want anyone to see him in pain or agony. No one wants to be seen that way. I will love him until the day I die. What I resent is that even though he is acting the way he is, that my heart won’t allow anyone else in. I resent the fact that he has made decisions that affect our future without giving me a voice in the matter. I’m angry with him for pushing not only me away but pushing his family and loved ones away to the point that everything has to be his way or no way. And I’m even angry with him because he’s ruined other men for me. I don’t like feeling like I’m trapped and in some ways that’s exactly how I feel.
I think that’s one of the reasons why Christmas magic is so real to me. We can love someone unconditionally and still be able to allow others in our lives. We may not feel the same about everyone but that’s actually a good thing. Can you imagine if there was no conflict in our lives? Boring. I’d rather have the emotional rollercoasters in my life just to keep life interesting. Sure, I’d love stability. I’d love to know that the man I love with every fiber in me loves me enough to be honest with me about how he truly feels rather than push me away. He won’t. I’ve accepted that fact. But at least I didn’t substitute him with a look a like that could have children and trap myself in a relationship where everyone can see I’m not happy. I know people who have done this and trust me, they aren’t happy. You can see it in their eyes.
I’m a very straightforward person. I used to be very shy but that no longer applies. My writing has helped me to meet some incredible folks over the last few years and while I haven’t been doing this blog long, I’m grateful to all of you who read it and help keep me going. Every one of you has Christmas magic around you. It’s in the gestures that are kind. It’s the little things in life that we all take for granted. It’s the crispness in the air that reminds us that it’s good to be able to enjoy all the things around us. The chilly days keep us motivated to move. The aroma of hot chocolate warms the soul while the chestnuts truly are a treat when they’ve been roasted. It’s the moments that can’t be put under a tree which makes our hearts soar. The little gestures that occur when we think that no one cared. These are the elements of the Christmas magic.
It’s even allowing yourself to be open to things that you once weren’t allowing yourself to happen. Most of my friends are men. Why? Because I don’t worry about them trying to go behind my back and start a lot of drama. Yes, women can be catty. Don’t get me wrong, men can be snakes too. I can count on one hand the number of female friends I have and I treasure each one of them. Trust isn’t easy for me. I would be a hypocrite if I said that Christmas magic solves everything because it doesn’t. But it does allow us hope. A hope that there will be a brighter future if we are all willing to work together and stop trying to bully one another into what we think is right. I’m all for female empowerment. But I am not naïve. There will always be people who think there way is the best for all parties. I just hope that in the long run, we can all be a little nicer to each other, a little more understanding and grateful for the people in our lives. Christmas only comes around once a year.
Someone asked me recently if I could change anything from the past, what would it be? In truth? It would be to have one more Christmas with my Dad. I miss hearing him sing. I miss how he could make Christmas feel so special for me and my mom. I miss hearing him tell me that I’m lovable and capable. Most of all, I just miss him. When someone is your rock like my dad was for me, once they are gone, there is a gaping hole that nothing else will fill. You don’t just get over those feelings. You learn to adapt to a new normal but that doesn’t mean that you will ever be the same because you won’t. Those of you who have lost someone you love, will understand that the holidays are one of the most difficult times to endure because you want so badly to share the holiday with someone you miss. I would give anything for mom and I to be able to gather around the piano again while Dad plays the trombone. I know those days are over but in my heart I can still hear him singing the hymns that he held so dear to his heart. That helps bring me some Christmas magic because in those memories, there is love.
I think of the Christmas where I had just gone through a rough miscarriage. Here I was losing a child and hearing how others were celebrating the birth of their child. My heart felt as if a dagger were slowly piercing through my skin. Every push of the knife engrained a piercing howl of agony that was done in silence. Tears were non stop. Yet, to the outside world, I looked fine. Christmas felt as if I had done something so horribly wrong and I didn’t know how to get me back. Thank God for my friends. My family was my saving grace. I was lucky. I had support. Think of all those who are alone at Christmas who have lost their sense of Christmas magic because they have no support. They are the true warriors of Christmas. They are the souls who carry the most difficult of stories and yet many of them won’t tell those stories. They don’t want pity. They just want the pain to stop. You may know some of these people. They might be your neighbor, or your co-worker. They might be at your church or somewhere you visit. Whatever the case may be, don’t assume you know someone’s story. They may be dealing with pain that no one can fathom. Show kindness. Pay it forward without expecting anything in return. It might make a huge difference in someone’s life.
This Christmas season I’ve decided to try something a little different. Every day until Christmas day I am going to make a resolution to myself to look at the positive things in life with new lenses. I am going to do everything I can to make Christmas a little brighter for myself and others around me. When my friends start with negative talk, I won’t allow the negative energy to dim the hope around me. And when I feel like anxiety and depression are starting, I will make sure that I’m putting my own words into action. Christmas is about love. May your holiday season be filled with love, laughter, and the realization that Christmas Magic is alive and well because the best things happen at Christmas.