12 Days Till Christmas

It is a lovely December day in Southern Illinois. It feels chilly but not cold…but then again I think it is all a matter of climatization. I noticed on my calendar that Christmas is sneaking up on me. It is 12 days away. I thought for some time that the Christmas Carol, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, was speaking of 12 days before Christmas…but in reality, it begins with Christmas Day. Since I learned the beginning of the 12 Days…I have taken some joy in knowing that the Christmas Season does not conclude with Christmas Day.

I was talking with my good friend of many years, recently, and I mentioned that life for me has been a battle with the dark side of my nature. Later I wondered if that sounded more ominous than I intended. Simply put life presents each of us with a basket of reversals and disappointments and difficult scenarios. I remember experiencing significant negative thoughts when my mom and dad divorced. I had a very dark opinion of my father…as I knew how much my mother suffered from the separation. Being a mere youngster I was settling into a cynical attitude and it felt comfortable to me and justified in view of my life experience. When one day a light bulb turned on in my brain and I decided to strive to be positive and to see the good in people and situations. Thus…I have a bit of Christmas…all year long.

The great philosopher, Forrest Gump’s mother, said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you are going to get.’ Indeed that is the case for us humans…and it is both the sugar and spice of our daily lives and the castor oil of our existence. The years fly by so quickly that at times we feel like our heads are spinning. Some of us take comfort in truisms that others assure us are the way to live our lives and the certain path to streets of gold and gates of pearl. Certainly, it is comforting to have a narrow view of the challenges of existence…but the reality of the banality of that comfort is a bit of tunnel vision and a missing of the forest for the trees… We may sing that, ‘Jesus loves the little children…,’ and yet only be aware of our own children or the children in our social group or the clique that we belong to.

Christmas is the message of hope for the hopeless. The coming of the Christ Child to a suffering world. The Christmas Star leads the Shepards to the Messiah…and they are called by the same God who compelled the Three Wise Men…The Three Kings…The Magi…

There is so much beauty in our world. Love is transformative and hope is eternal… As much as is within our power let us focus on the good…and shun the evil…

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