A Gentle Christmas To You

If you’ve watched the news lately, you might feel like downing a cyanide martini with an arsenic chaser. It takes a lot of will to have Christmas spirit in light of the world events. And then someone went and stole a giant box of gifts out of my car the other day (stupidly left car unlocked in my driveway). I’ve let this marinate for almost a week before posting about it because I wanted to examine my feelings about it. I’ve gone from wanting to light this person’s undercarriage on fire to curiosity and back to rage again. The thing that has made me most sad about the experience is that I wrapped the gifts for my brother, sister-in-law, and three kids whom I adore with love and admittedly a few tears. We were supposed to go visit them on the east coast for Christmas but couldn’t afford the steep airfares so wrapping their gifts was bittersweet to be sure. One of the gifts for my niece was monogrammed – I rarely take the time to personalize things if I’m being honest so this was like a stake to my heart. The worst of all, though, was the blessing bracelet I had bought for my niece. The tag on it reads:

It serves as a great reminder that we are so blessed inour lives and should appreciate all that we have. This bracelet is hand-made in Medjugorje at the base of Apparition Hill, where it is reported that the Blessed Virgin Mary started appearing to a group of children in 1981. Each bracelet is made using 10 Benedictine Medals and a “blessed” tag, and comes mounted on a card telling the story of Medjugorje and the powerful Benedictine Medal.

I couldn’t help but wonder if this person had regrets when they saw this or the other presents, so obviously given with love. Alas, I have read so, so many stories this week from friends about horrible things happening (car accidents, financial worries, more burglaries), I know I have to move on and realize this is such a minuscule thing. I think the one thing I’m glad about is that it made me realize that, while I have no control over what happens to me, I can control how I react. In fact, I’ve gone out of my way to be gentle to others this week. It’s so true what people say – be kind, as everyone you encounter is likely fighting some sort of battle. This season has been rough on me in more ways than one but I’m going to fight the Grinch within.

Needless to say, I’ve been a tad emotional (read: blubbering, snotty mess) much of the time so it was no surprise when I broke down in tears the other day when I heard John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas”. I think I’ve mentioned this before but I’m not usually a lyrics person. I usually make things up and the words usually come out, “Oh yeah, watermelon coffee bananas, ooh ooh…” It’s that bad. Something made me sit up and take note of this song, however … a song that I’ve heard hundreds of times before:

So this is Xmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Xmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Xmas (war is over)
For weak and for strong (if you want it)
For rich and the poor ones (war is over)
The world is so wrong (if you want it)
And so happy Xmas (war is over)
For black and for white (if you want it)
For yellow and red ones (war is over)
Let’s stop all the fight (now)

So fitting for what’s going on right now, no? We can’t control some external events but we can control our message, how we react, and the amount of peace we spread to others. Today I’d like to wish each and every one of you a gentle Christmas (or whatever it is you celebrate) and a significant New Year.

Olive Finn Xmas

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  1. Kerri says:

    Such a sweet post…love the picture too! We will drink a whiskey sour and pretend we are together.

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