The weeks before Christmas are filled with holiday greetings, songs and events to celebrate a happy holiday season. Festive decorations and classic holiday movies portray Christmas as a picture-perfect holiday, with happy family members gathered around a beautifully trimmed Christmas tree with a bounty of gifts waiting to be opened.
It’s a lovely scene, but it’s not real life.
Even for those of us who aspire to such a perfect holiday, life intervenes. In Monday’s Journal-World — The Christmas Eve edition — a couple of stories focused on serious health challenges faced by area residents. There were the usual obituaries and the Monday list of people who had married, divorced or declared bankruptcy. This likely will be a wonderful Christmas for the newly married couples, but for people who have recently lost a loved one, suffered through a divorce or found themselves in dire financial straits, this probably won’t be the happiest of holidays.
It certainly will be a sad Christmas for the families of the children and adults killed in the recent Newtown, Conn., shootings. Other family celebrations will be missing members who, they hope, are safe as they serve abroad in the nation’s military.
There are many reasons this may not be a perfect holiday, but the spirit of Christmas still makes this a time of hope and at least a little optimism. In recent weeks, many individuals and community groups have reached out to those less fortunate to spread some gifts and holiday cheer. A Christmas dinner that has become an annual tradition in Lawrence will be served today at the First United Methodist Church for anyone who wants to come, eat and enjoy some company. As of Monday, helpers still were needed if you want to pitch in.
In general, Christmas makes people a little kinder, a bit more forgiving. We hope everyone will make an effort to connect with the important people in their lives and share some holiday cheer. Christmas is no time to hold a grudge. Don’t worry if your holiday doesn’t look like a perfect greeting card this year. Christmas is about people, and people — even the ones we love — seldom are perfect.
It’s the spirit of the Christmas that makes it special. We wish you a wonderful, if sometimes imperfect, holiday filled with peace, joy and hope for the future.