Though it’s not a holiday song, it could be:
“Shower the people you love with love
Show them the way that you feel
Life will be a whole lot better
If you only will.” – James Taylor
For many of us – and especially folks in what the Hindus call “the Householder Years” – the holiday season involves lots of gatherings of people. Work parties. Events at church. Book Club holiday gatherings. And all the family activities – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, First night of Hanukkah – whatever your clan celebrates my hunch is that a big centerpiece of it all is a gathering of the clan.
The winter religious/spiritual holidays seem to me to have a few common themes. Light (not surprisingly, as we inch towards the longest night of the year), love, warmth and connection with one another.
It’s nice to have traditions and I think holiday traditions are particularly beloved by many of us. And even someone as vehemently casual as I am can see the value in events that require a little gussying-up and the wearing of special clothes. Decorating one’s home and one’s self – all are ways to say “hey! pay attention! this is special.”
I do think creating an ambience helps facilitate the REAL magic of the season – and that is the love that connects us all.
And that meaning – and context – makes all the difference.
I was thinking about my former colleague Millie who singlehandedly prepared a sumptuous Thanksgiving feast for her whole clan – made every dish herself. When we were chiding her about getting helpers, she positively glowed as she said “oh no! I LOVE to cook for my family!”. I got it. That meal wasn’t meant only to feed. And not meant to impress. It was a big “I love you!” from Millie to her family.
So as you bustle about wrangling children into fancy clothes, or hurriedly running out the door from work to get to the office party, as you gather around a groaning table laden with too much food, or wonder if you brought the right hostess gift to the party – remember it’s not about the ambience. It’s not about the stage props. It’s about the people and about love. Be there with that and watch the real magic of the holidays in action. Joy to the world, people – joy to you and me.