Editorial by Robert Kirwan

Special Thoughts About Christmas Memories

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, filled with so much joy and happiness. Everyone is attending parties, shopping for gifts, making plans to visit friends and relatives, and generally just trying to keep up with the hectic pace of the holiday season. However, no matter how happy we are or how much we enjoy the Christmas festivities, most of will experience a few sad moments at this time of year as well. Perhaps it will be as you are gazing out the window into the clear night, watching the crisp snow falling to the ground. With Christmas carols playing in the background, you fall into a trance and your mind wanders to those special people who are no longer part of your life, or to some other personal or family crisis that you are experiencing...and you wonder, "How can Christmas ever be the same ?"

We have all endured pain and suffering. It is as much a part of human life as happiness and joy. Without suffering, we wouldnít know what it means to be truly happy. Yet, with every serious setback in life, it becomes increasingly difficult to get through the season of Christmas without feeling for your loss and without shedding a tear or two. Few of us ever get through the Christmas holiday season without asking that numbing question, "How can Christmas ever be the same?"

It is especially difficult with certain traditions associated with those loved ones that you cherished who are no longer a part of your life. Whether your loss was caused by death, divorce, a family member moving to another place, or for any one of numerous other reasons, the feeling is still the same. You miss that person and for a moment wish that you could shut out the sights and sounds of Christmas. After all, how can you have so much fun without the people who are no longer part of your life?

Whenever you find yourself feeling like this, allow the memories to come flooding in. Allow the good thoughts to fill your head and bring you once again to a state of joy. Instead of feeling down, wondering how things will ever be the same without your loved ones, do your best to recall those important traditions and memories and remember the good times you had with them.

This is also the time of year when a simple smile, a touch on the shoulder, holding hands briefly, a sincere compliment or even a little note of appreciation or recognition can mean the world to those you meet, especially strangers. Reaching out to show that you care and understand how someone else feels is so much easier during the Christmas season because of the overall atmosphere and festive spirit. As you discover the warmth that comes from sharing your love with everyone you meet, you will begin to realize that the memories you have of lost loved ones are cherished more than ever, and instead of making you feel sad, those memories will lift your spirits.

We canít escape from the fact that things change in our life as we grow older. Some for the good, and some not so good. For obvious reasons, it is usually during the Christmas holiday season that we realize how much things have changed in our life. This year, donít try to suppress the memories of years gone by. Allow them to make this the best Christmas ever.

So as you go about your activities this Christmas season, take time to enjoy all of the great traditions that have been a part of your life for so many years. Allow time to recall the memories of years gone by so your loved ones will remain part of the festivities, even if they are no longer around. You will find that they can still add a great deal to your holiday, even if they are only here in spirit. And as you reflect upon those memories, allow them to give you the motivation and inspiration to move forward into a new chapter of your life next year.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Centennial Year in 2004 from the staff of Valley East Today!


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