The decorations are up! The lights are on and the trees are trimmed. We are ready for the holidays! As the shadows of darkness grow long in the shortening days, I’m reminded of the importance of light. As is our custom, we hang lights on the house literally moments after the last Halloween trick-or-treaters leave. Our human family, all over the world lights candles, adorns their houses and trees with lights. It’s a beautiful time of the year to stir the embers of joy and share the warmth of hope with our fellow human travelers.
Speaking of sharing, I love sending greeting cards. It has become one of our family traditions. I know it seems old fashioned and tedious, but there is something magical about going through the list of family and friends. You get a chance to stop and think about each person as you address, stamp and stuff each envelope. Fond memories, care and concern arises with each note sent. We normally select a generic holiday greeting, but in this crazy pandemic and challenging time, I stopped to think about the best, most appropriate message we could wish to everyone this year. I landed on a three part wish that I think fits our time: love, joy and peace.
Love. We have symbols, songs and slogans about love. It often gets described as a feeling or a desire. But at its core, true love is a choice and an action. It is an act of selflessness, consideration and giving. In this season, we unwire our selfish tendencies and focus on others. We give of our time, our treasures and our talents to benefit someone other than ourselves. That is love. As we think about our freedoms, privileges and blessings, think about it for others too. Have empathy: understand each other. Humility: encourage others. Charity: care for one another over your own comfort or convenience. Yes, in a pandemic, love even means wearing masks to protect others not just ourselves. We can choose to love, to be the best that we as humans can be. This time of the year, the world becomes a bit brighter as hearts and minds turn toward love and giving. As the song by Jackie DeShannon, says, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love, It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” I wish you love!
Joy. Like love, joy is often described as a feeling. It is often explained as the state of having cheer or vibrant happiness. But that would sell it short. True joy is a purposeful decision and attitude. Even in difficult times, you can feel joy. Darkness, loss and pain can rob us of happiness. But even in those moments of sadness, we can still choose to have joy. Joy is living in the moment, combating the darkness and choosing to put on the mantle of hope. It is our mind and heart choosing to be above the circumstances. Joy chooses light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. I wish you joy!
Peace. With the chaos, conflicts and challenges we have seen in 2020, there is an increasing need for peace. It is a unique and rare gem. But we can experience it, wield it and promote it. It is a gift we can give that always gives back. In a world of polarized views and tribal separations, peacemakers are needed now more than ever. Peace shines in unity over conflict, collaboration over competition, and civility over combat. Peace is born of love, embracing our differences while respecting each other. It brings a calm to raging seas and graces us with wisdom that there is more that unites us than divides us. I wish you peace!
I wish you all love, joy and peace this season and always!