Wishing readers a Happy Holidays
December 24, 2007
As the year – any year – comes to an end, it can be likened to a chapter of life that is bound together in a book. A year can resemble a mini-lifetime – a book of its own with a beginning and end, and a cover that may fool us about the storyline and outcome. It is a cover that can change throughout the year, reinventing and redesigning itself while we are still reading what we think is the same story.
So much can happen to a life in a year, as it can with a book from chapter one to the final page. The year can begin on a good page, but end sadly, frustratingly, tragically. It also could begin in sadness and steadily upturn the downward arch of its sadness toward unexpected happiness. It also can tease and taunt with twists.
What makes the holiday season so memorable is that it is in some ways a final chapter. Just like any book or movie, the ending is what leaves with you. It’s what you talk about. What you remember. But for the ending to be memorable – truly memorable – it must be derived from either one of the two polar points of life: extreme joy or extreme sadness. That is why having a baby near Christmas must be of exceptional joy. It is also why death during the Holidays remains buried in the memory vaults of the mind for so long.
We have often thought why the holidays are so sad. I have given little thought to why they are so joyous – mainly because that’s what you expect of the holidays anyway. It’s like some of the pictures and statues of Santa Claus we remember as a child. Some were jolly and made us smile. Some were sad. Still others looked mean. But why does sadness impose such protest toward happiness, even at times when you have no reason to be sad? Perhaps it’s that the holiday season is meant to be of exceptional joy and anything less than that is disappointing. Or because the holidays are at the end of the year, making the year right when all seems so wrong is now out of reach. Maybe it’s because we remember the loved ones who once shared so many joyous times with us, but are no longer here for us to even call or write. It’s a feeling that one gets when intuitively reaching for a phone, but then realizing that the person you were calling isn’t there to answer anymore. Maybe it’s because mortality has closed another door of open years in our own lifespan.
Whatever the reason, the emotions of love, happiness, sadness, and regret all reach impeccable heights during the holidays. Be it the big lift of well-being or the disabling injury of the fall, the holidays assume their ownership and supremacy of our mind sets. They proclaim their mastery of our souls with the greeting that reminds us that for everything that is good, there is something bad. For every smile, there is a frown. And for every tear of happiness, one is following closely behind in a race toward sadness. For every happy Santa, there is one who is pictured alone … and sad.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones. Treasure the truest gift of the moment. Make it last forever.