Different aspects of this seasonal time of year essentially make up our image of Christmas. If I asked what makes a perfect Christmas image for you, I suspect that there would be as many different pictures as there are statistical differences in the shape of ten carts of carrots straight from the growing field before the selection process required for supermarket sale has taken place.
Common images that make up an ideal Christmas card to suit one’s values vary between images of baby Jesus, animals, children, Christmas trees, excited children eagerly opening presents on Christmas morning, Santa Claus scenes, snow scenes, warm open log-fire and the family comforts of a happy home, etc. For some, Christmas means an opportunity to party, and to overindulge our palates and appetites.
For some though, it is a time of year which is enjoyed more the moment the festivities have ceased. There are those individuals who live alone: those who live in worrying debt: those who will spend their Christmas in cramped emergency housing: those with no employment to return to after Christmas: those homeless sleepers in shop doorways, under arches, and on park benches with sheets of cardboard, pushing prams and reclaimed shopping trolleys which are used to convey their sole belongings from one doss hole to the next. There are also unhappy married couples who decide this December will be their last Christmas as man and wife: those wives and children who are beaten and abused by ‘the man of the house’: those depressed individuals who commit suicide: and those usual happy individuals who have lost their partner and soul mate through bereavement and now face life alone. Then there will be those poverty-stricken migrants and their children who cross perilous waters on Christmas Day in unsafe, overcrowded sea vessels and substandard crafts in search of a better and more prosperous New Year in a new land.
Whoever we are, whatever our dreams this Christmas, so long as they are for the benefit of you and are not to the detriment of any other, I hope that they come true in the New Year. My mother was a dreamer, and I am sure she passed this characteristic onto me. Yet, although a believer in many superstitions and tales of Irish folklore, even she soon realised early on in her life that dreams do not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work. She nevertheless believed that one’s dreams can come true if we believe in them enough and have the courage to pursue them. Her motto was to hold fast to your dreams because when all else deserts you, merely having one dream left to keep you positively focused on the future is enough to keep you going against all the odds in the belief that tomorrow will be a better day.
And do not think that you are a person who just cannot dream. Anyone who possesses a heartbeat and the ability to see beyond the moment they are experiencing is capable of dreaming. A person stays young at heart if they never allow regrets to take the place of dreams or lose the child in them to adult dullness and lifetime sobriety.
So, let your hair down more in the New Year. Allow that child in you to come out more often. Be more prepared to take a leap of faith and jump in puddles just for the experience of making a splash. Life is too damn short to be forever serious.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Love and peace Bill and Sheila xxx