Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas - The Best and The Worst

is the word that springs to mind.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
I'm not a huge Dickens fan but this is one of my favourites.

Christmas can be a time of magic where, without even realising it, a mysterious sense of wonder can seep into even the heaviest heart, piping the edges of dead dreams and hopes with fine,spider-spun, incandescent threads.
Childlike innocence, a longing for something greater than 'us', the sudden warmth in a stranger touched by 'Christmas spirit', the unfamiliar sense of community... Christmas holds people, just for a brief, flickering moment, in a warm palm of purity, goodness and equality.
Gone are the British class boundaries and the pretensions and graces.
Just for a moment, we are bought together by an affinity that may only be described as supernatural.

All this said, Christmas can be the very worst of times.
Nothing blows colder than the wind of grief, loss and loneliness experienced by those who suffer at this time of year.
Many of us have been there. Standing outside the beautifully adorned windows of houses which glow golden Christmas light and sparkle with velvet laughter and heavy blanket heat.
Nothing like being on the other side of the pane, with the cold ache of despair that cannot be touched by the warmth you are surrounded by.

The cold isolation is felt all the more as you gaze at the dancing flames you cannot feel.

Christmas is a mix for most.
A time when the temperature is rarely consistent.

For those who can stay warm, I wish you a wonderful, peaceful, hopeful Christmas.

For those who have a little more trouble with the thermostat... or those who are cannot even make it past a front door, I pray that you would find the strength to hold on, hold out for the next day when it may not feel much warmer, but at least the "lack of" will not be so acutely emphasised.
I pray that you can hang in there for the aftermath when Christmas has passed and the pain is not highlighted so acutely.

I don't mean for this to be a depressing post.

I just want to acknowledge the two sides to this season and to reach out to those who are feeling despair.
You are not alone.


  1. HI-

    this is a truly profound, honest, reflective, and heartfelt writing.. I am SO impressed by your writing skill and ability to express truth in all it's faces. YOU are a real gift to so many who feel all alone and to those who are not - you are such a gift to me. "Thank you" for your truth and your courage and your wisdom.
    Blessings to you this Christmas
    Love Gail

  2. This is so true. I really struggle with Christmas. I try to make wonderful memories for my kids so mine is a mix. May you have peace this Christmas season.

  3. WS - Depressing, not at all, rather quite poignant and beautifully written.

    We must keep in mind that if we never know the depths of despair than we too will never know the heights of joy. I very much wish peace for you.


  4. you have a really good heart. You care. I care too. I care that you have a great holiday. That you stay safe....Sarah

  5. Gail - I don't know how to reply... Thank you for your kind words.
    I don't think it's particularly well written but you are right, it IS heartfelt. I want to be able to offer understanding to those who are feeling sadness.
    It's the worst time for many, I guess.
    I won't about being 'a gift'...
    Thank you Gail.

    Wanda - Thanks for beingso honest about your struggle with Christmas.
    I hear that it is a real rollercoaster in that your own experiences have been tinged with such sorrow, and yet you are so determined to give YOUR children joy.
    I hope that you can find some yourself too Wanda.
    You deserve that and I'm so sorry that it has been hard to find. x

    JSS - J... I'm so glad you didn't think it was depressing. Thank you so much for your words.
    Yes. You are so right that in order to feel joy, we must also know it's opposite
    Thanks for always speaking the truth here J.
    I wish you peace over the next few days.

    Sarah - Thanks for your care.
    I am trying to keep my feet very much on the ground in order to ensure the waves don't ever quite reach my chin.
    Staying as safe as I can.
    It's a hard season with all the food around... I guess you'd understand that...
    Much love to you. x

  6. It's not a depressing post, and for those of us who have felt anything but pure unadulterated joy at this time of year it is good to know we are not alone.

  7. I have just read this. Christmas is a strange mix of both for me. I look forward to it although with a sense of dread. If that makes any sense to you. Anyways reading this resonates with me. All I can say is thank you.

  8. Beth - Thanks for the reassurance.
    I guess there are quite a few of us out there!

    lostinamaze - Yes. It makes a lot of sense to me! It is a strange time and the mixture of dread and anticipation can leave you standing on slightly wobbly ground for a good few days.
    I'm glad that it resonated and hope very much that you survived the stange mix. x