“May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!”
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
“Keep your Christmas-heart open all the year round.”
Yesterday was a nice Christmas. It wasn’t a perfect Christmas, but it was a nice one. I’m a little sad that it’s over. I feel like I’ve had very little time to really enjoy the season. I’ve been shopping or working or sick. Right now I’m listening to Christmas music so that my Christmas continues. I realize for the first time in days, I don’t feel rushed. The only times I’ve felt completely calm have been when I was with people I love or when I was writing.
The Christmas music reminds me of the Christmas I had when I was 17. It wasn’t my best one. I had the flu. I felt horrible for days. When Christmas morning came I had to deliver newspapers. Worse, it was a Sunday and the papers were extra heavy. Sometimes my dad would wake up and help me, but he wasn’t helping me that morning, probably because he and my mom had stayed up late wrapping presents. It was 5:30 in the morning and it was cold and dark. I’m not sure where I got the strength to fold and deliver all those papers. I know I had a fever. Still, I had a job to do. I don’t think I ever felt so bad in my whole life. Somehow though I did it.
When I finally got home, my family was ready to open presents. I opened up presents though I still felt horrible. When we were done, I went straight to bed waking up only once because my best friend Rudy called to wish me a Merry Christmas. I told him I was sick and went back to sleep. I slept for about nine hours. I finally woke up at about 5:00 that evening feeling wonderful.
As a happy ending to that story, I spent that night at the Clark’s house. The Clarks were the owners of the comic book store where I spent most of my time when I was 17. We all had a nice dinner and a lot of fun. Later everyone went to sleep, but because I had slept all day, I wasn’t tired. So I stayed up and listened to “elevator music” versions of Christmas songs. It was wonderful. I’m sure I’m the only teenager in the world who liked elevator music, but I found it gave me a sense of peace and it was my last few moments of that Christmas.
I’ve had some good Christmases and some bad ones. That was one of the more difficult ones, but I survived it and it ended nicely. Sometimes I think I make Christmas, and many other days, more difficult than they have to be. I have too many expectations and worse, too many fears around how the day should go. Unrealistically, I think the day should be perfect. Perhaps I should have that expectation for every day, that it should be perfect, or if not perfect, then as good as it can be. And perhaps I should do my best to make each day as good as it can be.
Sometimes, when caught up in the good will that comes with Christmas, people say that every day should be Christmas. I think we can make every day even better, not through gifts but through good will and peace on Earth. The good will alone can be a gift and here are some ways it can be expressed:
· Both Deepak Chopra and Norman Vincent Peale mention saying a silent prayer for everyone who passes by.
· Smile at people.
· Buy coffee for the person behind you at the coffee shop.
· Say only kind things to and about others.
· Do your best work.
· Be present in each moment.
· Slow down.
· Practice gratitude.
And what about peace on Earth? Can I create that? Can I do it every day? I don’t know if I can do it over the whole planet, but I can certainly do it in my little part of the planet. That is a lot easier to write than it is to do, but difficulty is not an excuse for not trying. So today, though it may be difficult, my mission will be to spread peace on earth, starting with me and going from there. I will do this by implementing the suggestions above. I will also by writing at least one more blog and doing a radio show. I will do this by remembering to Get Started and to Keep Going...while Christmas continues.