This Christmas.


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Who knew? Another Christmas is upon us. Like a thief in the night. It has literally crept up on us. So many things to get done. The stress of finding the perfect gift. For your loved ones. Especially the ones who have everything. There isn’t enough time in the day. We are literally stretching ourselves thin. The pressure is on. To be ready. For the day when Christians celebrate the birth of the Saviour.

I have truly fond memories of Christmas. Everything seemed to happen on Christmas Eve. The house was scrubbed from top to bottom. Every family member stayed up until stupid-o clock the next morning. Cooking. Baking. Hanging curtains. Hopefully new ones. Arranging doilies on cushions. Hanging decorations in the windows. Every neighbour kept an eye on each other’s house. Waiting to see whose house would end up looking the best. I loved the energy surrounding this day. As a result, it has always been the only holiday, I get truly excited for!

Living in the USA took some of the joys out of the tradition. Christmas has been exploited. Become commercialized. In recent times, I have felt a longing to change this. It’s natural to turn inward and focus on loved ones. And easily forget everyone else. Because our lives are so wrapped up in parties, gift giving, and every other celebration. This post is not to invoke guilt. Nor detract from the reasons we gather together at this time of year. It’s as a gentle reminder, to do something different next year. What that means for you. Is different for me.

This Christmas. I hope we spare a thought and prayer for those without family. Especially the people who call the cold, cruel streets their home. Before I volunteered at a shelter, like many, I had a stereotypical view of homeless people. I was humbled. Fast. Every situation is personal and different. And except for the very small number with mental issues, NO ONE chooses to be homeless. And before we appoint ourselves as armchair judgemental moralists, and voice our reasons. Don’t. We haven’t walked in their shoes. We don’t know their lives. Don’t know their pain. I know for a fact, many of them long to be somewhere else.

This Christmas while our kids are opening presents. I want us to think about the young girl or boy placed in foster care for the first time. The child who, due to no fault of their own, was born into a family that cannot take care of them. I lived with a foster-mother for years. I remembered days. And nights. When I wondered if my mom was ever coming to pick me up. Luckily for me. She did. For Christmas. But so many aren’t as fortunate. I want us to pray for the ones most afraid. Who won’t be getting any gifts this year. Furthermore, the children displaced by famine. Hunger. Political uprisings. Keep them in our thoughts.

This Christmas. I want us to keep in our thoughts. The people newly single. Whose hearts are heavy because their relationships broke down. The people who once entered relationships, with so much hope, trust, and enthusiasm. Only to watch it all come apart. Fast. I want us to think about how hard this Christmas will be for them. They once envisioned what the first Christmas tree would look like. The presents waiting under the tree. Fickle things. Yes. But like everything else, their dreams of a happily ever after have been squashed. They must begin the painful process of rebuilding. Recovering.

This Christmas. I want us to give thanks, and keep in our hearts the soldiers deployed overseas. Many of whom will be spending their first Christmas away from home. These brave men and women have made huge sacrifices. Many fighting for causes, you and I might not agree with. These soldiers made a commitment. And they intend to honour it. I only can imagine. Their one wish, above anything else, is to return to their loved ones. I hope next Christmas, their wish is granted.

I can write about so many other groups. But you get the picture. I know the past year has had its share of phenomenally difficult trials. For so many of us. Friendships have been lost. Relationships estranged. Mistakes  plentiful. Grudges and resentments are probably eating away at our souls. The harshest judgments have come from the very same people who claim to love us. But for others. Not so.  They chose to stay. They love without boundaries. Unwavering in their love and support. I thank them. On my behalf. And yours.

I LOVE this quote by Will Smith: Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing, and work hard. The right people… the ones who really belong in your life, will come to you. And stay.”. Little did I know. This is the year. It would apply to my life. As 2014 dawns upon us. And it will. I hope we can reflect on this past year. Learn from the mistakes. Hold our head up. And keep fighting. But for now. Enjoy this Christmas.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

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