But it can also be a very stressing season. People worry about all manner of things: buying the right gifts, getting the right cards to send in the mail, adorning the house, picking the perfect tree. Many likely know of a street or a neighborhood where there seems to be something of an outdoor lights competition, with houses vying with one another for the Griswald cup.
I wonder though, how differently this season might be if everyone were faced with the very real possibility that this Christmas might be their last Christmas here on Earth.
Rather than tell you about myself right now. I want to tell you about a friend of mine. Someone who passed away very recently. My friend never realized that last Christmas was his last Christmas. Had he known that last Christmas was to be his last Christmas, would he have celebrated it differently? I can't help but think that he would have.
I imagine he would have taken in much more than decorations and gift giving. I'm convinced that a company holiday party and open houses would have seemed totally different.
Had my friend known that he was celebrating his last Christmas, I'm convinced his senses would have been on overdrive to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, even to the texture of this wonderful time of year. Most of all though, I'm sure he would have cherished the love that surrounded him, love that remains even though he is no longer with us in body.
Ironic that I should be contemplating these questions during the Yule season. It is at this time of year when nature goes to bed, when so much of creation hunkers down for a long sleep. That is how many regard death and passing on, as going to sleep.
But if nature teaches us anything, it teaches us that a winter sleep is not permanent. Trees shed their leaves and are blanketed with snow, flowers wither and disappear. The grass turns brown and becomes hard and frozen and seemingly dead, waiting for its blanket of white. But even as the days grow shorter and shorter with less and less of the sun's warmth, we know that rebirth and renewal are only a short time away.
That's what makes this time of year so special, its why we have celebrated this season for thousands of years. Its a time to cherish what we have before it passes on, yet we are joyful and full of expectation because we know that renewal is close at hand.
Is this my last Christmas? I don't know, it could be, but I hope not. I'm not dying, at least not in the clinical sense. Of course in reality, we're all dying, some are just closer to their final Christmas than others. But nobody is told when they'll pass on, my friend certainly wasn't.
There are many people who will be, in fact, celebrating their last Christmas, and the possibility exists that I may be one of that number. That's probably why some are reading this right now, we're all aware of our own mortality, no matter how hard we try to ignore it. I'm not the first to say it, from the time we draw our first breath we all start to die.
I'm going to celebrate this Christmas as I believe it is meant to be celebrated, as my last before rebirth.
Merry Christmas all.
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