Alistair Taylor

A time to remember all that is good

And so, another Christmas.

The shopping is just about done (for me anyway, other people I know have long been finished). The charitable campaigns are all but over. We’ve even had a dump of snow. Maybe it will hang around long enough to qualify as a white Christmas…but not likely.

So, now it’s that moment that I like. That moment when Christmas “hits.” Up until now there’s all the preparations and things like the annual church Christmas dinner, the work Christmas party, the daughter’s school events, picking up the son from the airport, a visit to the sister-in-law, cards to the relatives, wrapping the presents I’ve already got, finishing the Christmas stocking pole (a Christmas woodworking craft I took on) and…let’s see, oh yes, the capper that puts the lid on preparing for Christmas and announcing that it’s here, which for me is buying flowers for the wife and daughter. I get them last so that they stay fresh through the Christmas week, as  I call it.

Once that’s done, I can kick back and relax. A few days off work and lots of food stacked on the shelves and in the fridge. We’ve got our games picked out and everybody knows their job for the Christmas meal (mine’s cooking the turkey, which involves wrestling with the beast to get the neck and giblets out and then hoisting it into the roasting pan. Later, after it’s cooked, I carve it. How traditional is that, eh?).

It may seem routine but it’s never mundane. I love Christmas. When I’ve completed the last “task” I settle in for a good relaxing time with my family. And that’s the point of it all, for me. Taking the time to bask in the love, appreciate the great things we’ve received throughout the year and enjoying the good fortune of living where we do.

That there are many in the world and in our community that don’t have as much as that, is a thought that, despite my personal – albeit modest – prosperity, is never far from my mind. I have ideas as to how to alleviate that but not all the politicians seem to want to make them happen. And they don’t ask me for my advice. But we can’t give up.

Many people find the Christmas season stressful and difficult. I’ve never found it that way. I’m not sure why. Sure, there’s pressure and there’s deadlines (four of them at work this week alone) but I find it a good pressure.

There’s the rampant materialism of the season and the contradiction between ideals and action in our society but I don’t let it bother me that much.

And there are the abusive homes and relationships which do make me fret and wonder how people can be so cruel to each other.

But at the end of it all, Christmas is a time to remember all that is good about society. And perhaps strive to fulfill those ideals. We try. You see it all the time. The giving, the best wishes, the socializing, the trips back to the family home.  Even out on the bustling shopping trail, people strive to spread good cheer. We’re not perfect but we’re doing our best. And this is a case where I think it’s a matter of reversing Yoda’s mantra by saying “don’t do, try.” The effort is appreciated.

Merry Christmas everybody.

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