By Laurie Singer, UUCSS President-elect.
I have always loved decorating for Christmas. Once I was in my own home, it quickly became the family gathering place, most especially for the holidays…my parents visiting from Buffalo, my sister and her family…a niece and nephew I couldn’t love more if they were my own children, and my husband, who tried hard to be the humbug, but always ended up being the life of the party. Even as I grew weary from working long hours (believe me when I say that Retail is not for the faint of heart come Christmas time!), I wanted to have everything just perfect for our celebrations. Weariness turned to near exhaustion by the time December 24th rolled around. I’m sure I’m not the only one among us who has run myself ragged for the goal of hostess perfection!
But there would always come that one moment, when looking around at the faces of the loved ones surrounding me, I would have a perfect feeling of deep belonging, and peacefulness that told me it was worth every minute I’d put into it. And I seemed to be wise enough to know that it wouldn’t always be that way.
Eventually, I found myself alone at Christmastime, and I faced mid-December thinking, why bother to put up a tree and deck the halls just for myself. But soon after joining this congregation, I found myself in a circle of friends that gave me a reason for putting on the glitz…once again I had laughter and joy in my home.
But of course, this year is different. We can’t gather safely with friends or family that don’t live with us.
So, why bother?
Well, yesterday, after much hemming and hawing to myself, I put up my Christmas tree. And as I untangled light strings, it began to occur to me that I had found the answer to why I was bothering to do it.
Because it brings my parents back to life. Because it makes my nieces and nephews children again, their faces alight with excitement, waiting for Santa. Because my memories are the greatest treasure I have ever been given. Why wouldn’t I want to do this for myself?!
And so dear friends, if you’re feeling weighed down by the sadness and heaviness of this past year; if you’re facing being alone during the holidays for the first time ever; if you suffer every year in this season because beautiful memories like mine are not part of your own life’s experience….please, I beg you, do something wonderful for yourself. If you’re lucky enough to be sheltered in place with a partner or with your children, BOTHER to make this season a new kind of celebration.
Perhaps quieter. Perhaps calmer. Perhaps trying really hard to not get lost in the pain of everything or everyone you might be missing, but instead to perhaps be extra mindful of those blessings you can count.
But whatever you do, Please bother.