Monday, 23 December 2019

Spreading Christmas Cheer by Ruth Bonetti

‘Tis the season to be jolly. 

Define jolly:
"Someone who is happy and cheerful in their behaviour. Synonyms: bright, funny, lively."

Let's celebrate the season...

Rather than focus on the day. After all, December 25 owes some poetic license to monks and Roman calendars. Let’s value and enrich time with loved ones, whatever the date. 

Lifeline help calls peak over the festive season. Credit cards max. Many over-indulge and over-imbibe. 

Hair fractures can split relationships. Split families haggle over time—quantity amid hopes for quality. Trying to prove and outbid love by choosing ideal gifts, aided by Chinese sweat shop imports.  As families scatter across the globe, offspring spread their wings into their own nests, Christmas can become fraught with in-law negotiations. 

This time last year I told how such scattering of dates meant we shared our home on Christmas day and dinner with four unattached, grateful people. Thank God for prompting me to ask my son “Can you think of anyone at a loose end who’d like to come?” Indeed, he did. Glad you suggested it. 

He brought his mate –let’s call him Jack—who was alienated from his family, whose colleagues didn’t understand his offbeat wit. Shunned by peers jealous of his formidable musical genius. 

We invited another lonely soul who struggled to form and keep friendships. Again an exceptional talent, but given little credit or encouragement for that. Bad experiences had recycled, spiralled to trigger action fight or flight responses that further alienated others. We’d done our best to support him through workplace bullying, not too overt for the boss wielded the cutting word axes.

Jack could talk for hours on any topic; philosophy, physiology, ornithology, religion (and misuse of it), the state of the world. After-life or nothing-after. His sharp mind played with ideas, his nimble fingers played anything that made sounds. In rehearsals Jack’s deadpan black humour sometimes got people off-side. Why should he care? He didn’t fit into institutions, didn’t want to. No boxes could contain him.  Jack spoke his mind–too well. Just as that sharp tongue slashed through staccato riffs. 

And six months later he died.
How tragic that Jack’s alienated family
didn't organise a funeral to farewell friends, to celebrate his life and gifts. They didn’t give him the time of day, even one hour. But we gave him his day. 

Reflect before we point fingers

What phone calls could we make, to reconcile with others? Before it's too late? Rather than see them next over--or in--a coffin, before it's to late?

Don't we all bring some pocket sized-ones demons to our festive gatherings? Submissive ones? Do we dodge that argument (green/left vs. deplorables, anyone?) by activating our mouths with more pavlova or alcohol?

Do we skirt around loved ones who refuse eye-contact, unable to a risk a debacle by ramming through decades’ long impasse? Another drink, anyone? Do we wound with criticism (veiled of course), judgments, directives? 

Grant us Thy peace.  

One discordant note is enough to jar interpersonal harmony. 
Be the one to resolve discord with a healing cadence. 
May your Christ-mas time be blessed with God’s love, joy and understanding. 
And may you pass His peace to all you meet.

RUTH BONETTI wrote about her wintry Christmas experiences in Sweden and Finland in Burn My Letters, winner of the 2017 CALEB Nonfiction award. She sends love and prayers to all who battle fire in this tough summer season.

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  1. Thanks, Ruth for a thought-provoking post to look past the glitter and messages of overindulgence or fractured relationships.

  2. Important truth beautiful written. May our Lord bless you this Christmas.

    1. And many blessings to you and yours. Especially exciting to share with little twins!

    2. Thanks, Jo, glad it spoke to you. Blessings to you.

  3. Very thought-provoking. Thank you Ruth for giving us a glimpse into your beautiful soul-sharing Christmas experience.

    1. Thanks, Anita, and I send blessings, joy and peace for your Christmas. Loved your Bobby book–I looked to write a review on Goodreads so do list it there.

  4. Thank you, Ruth--a really good reminder to think of others who might have no one to be with at Christmas. God bless!

    1. Yes, Jo-Anne, most of us are so blessed in relation to others, it's easy to forget that when caught up in some drama or communication mishap. God bless you and yours also.