December in my mind is actually a composite of holidays which extend from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s Day. It is a corpulent month filled with many things, but especially family. The traditional get-togethers are Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner and New Year’s dinner with all of the traditional foods we prepare and eat. The family is close together for each of these holidays and it is this concentration of personalities that can cause friction in even the happiest of situations. I realize that not all families exist this way, but in my younger years, mine did. And, I must say, it was never boring. As a means of self-preservation I developed a “fight or flight” attitude. But mostly it was flight, meaning: always plan for a quick exit no matter where you are.
A more normal attitude during these holidays is to relax and talk or work puzzles, or reminisce and catch up on nostalgia with anyone who will listen. Words like celebrate, commiserate, re-connect or re-hash come to mind rather than annoy or pile onto the weak. There are many different styles and traditions, but all during this time involve family.
Family is where ideas are sorted out and either trashed or passed down through the ages. Ideally, we build bridges when there has been separation. We heal. We pray together before meals. We acknowledge growth and the passage of time. We listen. We offer opinions for discussion with acceptance or rejection. Then at some point the general volume is raised to near deafening because everyone is talking at once. And, at last, because of the large meals and desserts, the volume decreases as one by one everyone drops off to sleep. The only ones who avoid this are those who are watching a football game. Nothing deters an avid fan of the game.
However this plays out in the individual situation, the most important part of each get-together is the family itself coming together and re-connecting and perpetuating its own ideas and feelings of love through each generation. The family is the basis of our love. And love is the acceptance of each individual no matter how “over the top” or “out in left field” he or she has become. Unconditional love, however, is reserved for the immediate family.
So as we near the middle of this season and the month of December, let us think more deeply than usual. There are many who are disconnected and have no family, and consequently no love. There are many reasons for this unfortunate situation, but the result is always the same when there is no love – depression, and a yearning for the things that someone else has. Let’s try to help these souls in some way before they get to this last resort. Everyone benefits from love. Most of our popular songs tell us this is so.
So the next time you meet someone in need who is without love, sing to them. And then run as fast as you can. Not everyone likes to be sung to. Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! And have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!