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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

The Meaning of Christmas?

I thought that I knew what is was. Really. All these many years and I thought that I knew...but yesterday, I learned something new. I learned that it isn’t at all what I thought it was. Christmas, like so many other holidays and events in life, is really just another day to show up and do your best, to try to provide the stable basis to make others happy and feel loved. Christmas is not about getting anything, it really is about giving.

Yesterday, I gave gifts. I gave my time. I gave my heart (somewhat reluctantly at times I am embarrassed to report). I gave laughter, and jokes, and conversation. It was a lovely day in many regards. And in some very painful ways, eye opening about the relationships I am carrying.

2022 has required that I let go of a lot of people and things that I loved. I love them still actually. Quite a lot. But my continuing in those relationships was just not possible. I could not be authentic, real, me and remain in those relationships. And I have deeply the loss of those relations. I miss them. I sometimes wonder if my decision to leave was premature. Perhaps I was wrong...

And that is what I learned yesterday: is that I have persisted where I should have walked so many times. So often, I remained because I was terrified to be wrong. And that resulted in me, well at least a part of me, participating in relations that deserved the whole me, but were not relational containers capable of holding all of me. And I knew this...but remained because I couldn't bear to let them go...

Truth can often be a relational ender. I have found out a lot this year that when I tell my truth, the truth at least from my perspective, experience and feeling, that people leave. Or I have to. That is how this year has gone. And I can see now that those gaps created space for new relationships to form. New relationships for me to try again.

I learned yesterday that Christmas is just another day to practice loving, being kind, showing up and doing my best, to put my best foot forward while being true to who I am. And, as much as I would like to say that this person I am in this stellar, amazing, spiritually fit woman, I am honestly a combination of wellness and shitshow. It is really only the percentages that change.

Overall I did pretty well yesterday. I rolled with the changes and was not married to MY way. And I hope that I created a nice day for everyone involved, to the degree I am capable of supporting or manufacturing conditions for people to enjoy themselves.

There were some sadnesses attached to the day. No word whatsoever from my son. No reply to my text message of “Merry Christmas. I love you”. And as painful as that was, I guess I can see that if I believe there are no accidents in this life (and I really do believe that), that our current breakdown in communication is also as it should be. I nevertheless pray that he is well, had a great Christmas and is safe. And for now, that is all that it appears I can do.

I also had a good reminder that with every passing year, month, week or day, things are always changing. So if I do not like this particular minute, just hold on, because there is another one coming that will inevitably bring something different...if I am willing to accommodate and change as the occasion requires.

I have to admit that I do not really like that. I prefer that things remain predictable and certain...even though life has really never been either: predictable or certain. That is just my magical thinking again showing up to create permanency where none really exists.

Yesterday, I relished in all the different in my life. I got to spend the day with my parents which doesn’t happen all that often. And I got to laugh with them and watch them enjoy the day. I got to spend a little time with my daughter. And I got to miss her too because she is 15 and sometimes wholly absent from anything I can relate to. I got to spend time with my boyfriend and his family and come to know them all better. I enjoyed all of this very much...and that enjoyment happened while I grieved the losses this year brought.

The meaning of Christmas, at least this year, was that it is just a day. A day that I spend so many other days preparing for this one day, that I could have missed the day by expecting too much, demanding too much, or becoming overly involved in details that were better left to God. Christmas, is, after all, just another day. But this year, it was filled with more with presence than presents. It was filled more with gratitude than expectation. It was filled more with loss than it was resentment. And that is progress...

Perhaps no one can relate to my experience of Christmas this year. And that is ok. I am grateful that it took on new meaning for me this year. That all the newness was also rooted in the old, but made a new path for things that I haven’t quite worked out just yet. I am still a being in growth. I am still just a human being trying my best to grow in line with spiritual principles and I am still missing the boat a great deal of the time.

I did make it through the day without doing anything that requires an amends today. I really did do my best and today I can be grateful that there are no hangovers: emotional or other that is going to take up my life today having to atone for or recover, I get to start fresh and hopefully have a new experience of my life unfolding.

Christmas and life are never perfect. But yesterday the day did resemble what I always dreamed it would: to be surrounded by family, filled with a full and grateful heart, open to all that I feel, even when those feelings hurt or cause me to grieve. My life is not awash with cover stories or was as clean as it could be, given that I am still human and mostly fallible.

The meaning of Christmas? I guess it changes because I do. And this year, I was present enough for that to be ok while I enjoyed the day and felt the feelings that are all just part of the celebration I guess...hope you and yours had a Merry one. And that you continue to grow and change as you reflect and day at a time.

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