The Spirit of Christmas Remembered

    h.13bw reindeerEven as one who does not celebrate Christmas, living where I do it is part of the culture’s yearly cycle. This year I offer a repeat of last year’s Christmas post (the doodles are new). This is offered as a gentle reminder of what’s really important (knowing only too well how easy it is to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life). Regardless of the holiday(s) — if any — you celebrate, here’s wishing all the best to you and yours!!!

    The Spirit of Christmas

    Christmas is not part of my belief system. In 2008 my quest for understanding the meaning of “the Season” and the “Spirit of Christmas” found me, at four o’clock in the morning, foggy-brained, befuddled, and seriously questioning my sanity as I stood in the kitchen of a women’s center, helping prepare a Christmas morning celebration for the women-in-residence and their children.

    h.34w tree w.earringsBy six, as the women — those who’d hit rock bottom, wanted to avoid rock bottom, or knew they’d been given a final chance — came downstairs to tables bearing gift bags for them, a brightly lit tree, wrapped presents for their children, fresh coffee, trays of pastries, and a festive breakfast, I knew I was in the right place at the right time.

    Watching the women give their children the presents they’d been up late wrapping, I was struck by the intangible gift they’d given themselves and their children, hope. Hope they could heal and hope their children would never need a place like the Center.

    The in-residence Center afforded women time and opportunity to acquire skills for a non-addictive life. This program was unique in that it gave them six to twelve months (if need be) to learn about parenting, budgeting, communication, job hunting, etc.

    Their road to recovery is tangential, contains detours, and often includes backsliding. When that happens, I hope the women draw strength from mental snapshots such as that morning, reminding themselves, “Because I did it once, I know I can do it again.”

    That morning I learned, even though my dictionary defines addict as one who devotes or suffers (oneself) to something habitually or excessively, it turns out not all addictions appear equal to those who’ve taken it upon themselves to pass judgment.

    a.291w Walking CandleDrugs prescribed by doctors appear acceptable, those acquired by other means are not.

    Holding one’s alcohol appears admired, needing alcohol is not.

    Sexual relations with one partner at a time appears acceptable, relations with multiple partners is not.

    Workers who place job before family and go for the bottom line regardless of personal cost, societal cost or environmental cost appear acceptable, other ways appear suspect.

    So in actuality, on December 25, in a safe haven where women work hard to overcome addiction and set an example so their children don’t repeat the cycle, I was given an amazing gift. I learned what C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S really is.

    a.292w Walking GiftCOMPASSION for those struggling to overcome adversity and
    HOPING they prevail.
    REJOICING in their success as they
    INTENTIONALLY make choices to overcome their addiction(s).
    SINCERELY cheering them on as they
    TRY (and try and try and try again if need be). In that
    MAGIC moment, I witnessed in
    AWE as women beat the odds (and their personal demons), while within the
    SILENCE, I heard the gentle murmur of COMPASSION, thus repeating the cycle.

    I was shocked to realize the components of Christmas are actually universal. There actually is more to “the Season” and the “Spirit of Christmas” than shopping. (Who’da thunk?)

    Here’s wishing you all a Merry, Happy, Terrific, Wonderful, Marvelous, and Compassionate.

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    kath unsworth - December 24, 2014 - 1:18 pm

    Happy memories for you at a time of year when many struggle. All the best for the new year.

    Tana Bevan - December 24, 2014 - 1:52 pm

    A charming sentiment, Kath. Thank you. May you and yours have many wonderful adventures. :-)

    Star - December 24, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    Thank you, Tana, for this wonderful insight. Peace and contentment to you, and to us all.

    Sheila Bergquist - December 25, 2014 - 12:01 am

    What a wonderful message this is. Thanks for sharing this. Big hugs and much love your way.

    Tana Bevan - December 26, 2014 - 2:41 am

    Star~I’ve discovered over the years that gentle reminders of what is truly important help me stay on track. Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderfully peaceful and contented holiday season. *smiles*

    Tana Bevan - December 26, 2014 - 2:44 am

    Sheila~I find it all too easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-dayness of it all that I forget what’s really important. I find the occasional (or not so occasional as the case may be *smiles*) reminder very helpful. Wishing you and yours a particularly delightful holiday season.