I am delighted by how much I enjoy Christmas these days, how I enjoy the preparation, the shopping , the festive lights , the warm greetings the sharing of memories.
It wasn't always that way for me. I can remember crying my eyes out at the thought of Christmas. Thanks to Tai Chi and inquiry Christmas is a very different experience now.
Growing up Christmas time was a nightmare for my mother. She had very little money then and put herself under tremendous pressure to have gifts for everyone from the milkman to the old school friend she only saw at Christmas. Presents would arrive in the door and be re-wrapped and sent back out. Many the box of chocolate biscuits was sadly re-wrapped and passed on. Once, we forgot to re-wrap she was so embarrassed when her 'friend reminded her of the mistake - every year !
(Pity she didn't have inquiry. )
As she got older she would get the flu each year, always as the pressure was mounting she would take to the bed. I would do the shopping and Mum would re-emerge on Christmas Eve. Then we would pack up and travel to my Uncle's rectory for the holidays.
She worked non stop once we got there, everything had to be perfect, the Christmas meal (a feast) took hours to prepare. Everything had to be home made and perfect.
Christmas night she would collapse into a chair and fall asleep exhausted at the end of the day.
Now I can see how crazy it all was. Then I believed that that was how Christmas 'should' be.
Now it is more about spending time with people than about the perfect present and the perfect meal.
When I recall the good memories from back then, it was the late night reading by the fire, the occasional deep conversation, but especially the warmth of Uncle Seamus's welcome, his delight in having us to stay with him for Christmas. I knew our presence made his Christmas. I just wish that my mother had realised more fully then that She was the Gift. It was not doing the cooking and presents, it was her loving us that mattered.
She did love us worked to do the impossible for us, burnt herself out for us.
Writing this blog has helped me to see more clearly that that was her path and in some strange way she loved it.
And so I'm dedicating this Christmas to the memory of Mother's Love of all Mother's love. That quality of loving that is beyond words to explain. That quality I am projecting on to Mothers is the deep mysterious connection that somehow nourishes our spirits.
May your spirit be fully nourished this year, may you feel the deep love residing in your own heart. And may you share it happily with those you meet.