I read somewhere that the Pope feels that the holidays this year will be a bit of a charade because the world is at war. He lamented the hypocrisy of celebrating the Prince of Peace at a time when all the world seems so far away from His message.
I was uncomfortable, out of sorts with that message. Should I be ashamed of my celebrations?
Then, the other day, my mother mused aloud that the decorations she was seeing, mostly in hospital lobbies and doctors' waiting rooms (as has been our lot of late) seemed garish, unseemly. She, too, was feeling that a world at war might pause before a bauble made sense. I had to think about that.
If the holidays are decorations, like lipstick on pigs, to distract from the pain of real suffering, they are indeed a charade, and for shame. If we take in our grand meals with no regard for the plights shared in places where there are no tables, no feasts, we are lost for sure.
If, however, these days of rejoice are about messages of hope and provocations for reform - in our thoughts, our words, our deeds - then there is no charade, no loss for vanity.
Just as you do this day with family and friend, every day when you have the opportunity to spend good, do so with abandon. Smile, be kind, return the chatter of the clerk. Catch yourself before you act on the impulse of anger. Remember the reaping comes from the seeds you sow. You cannot solve all the problems, so address those you can well and express yourself with sympathy for those that others tend. Choose wisely, don't dawdle in the muck and vile. See it and know it if you must, then cast that trash aside for what it is. Linger in the goodness you can find, be that goodness for someone else. Hum, hug, be fine.
And on your days of pain know that for all the hurt there is love, and love to spare. Wide and wild there is love, full and breathing love, in gardens and books, high in the sky and in all the miles between us, love. Reach for it, lend it yourself, rejoice for a reason, and know love. Have hope. There is no shame in that. It is, for all, worth celebrating.