For one thing, our attitudes change. During Christmas we give ourselves permission to be happy. Instead of cold, snow, and ice, we see Christmas lights. We sing along with Christmas Carols rather than listen to negativity. We give gifts and do kind deeds.
After Christmas, our focus changes back to all that's wrong with our lives and the world. We see suffering, violence, and hate. How dare we be joyful?
What if we channeled those internal concerns into action rather than wringing our hands and filling our hearts with anxiety and guilt?
Father Joseph T. Sullivan wrote in, Good Morning, Lord, “creative people: sculptors, authors, song writers, painters, musicians, and architects, show us how to look up at the stars not down at the mud and the puddles.”
God has called me to write and paint, to temporarily suspend someone’s suffering through my stories and my art. Is that not a noble act? He also calls me to greet others with a smile and kind words, to listen with interest and compassion when others speak, to volunteer my time and to give to charities through my church, or other means.
In doing these things, I am “lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness.”
When we love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves, reaching out with charity where ever and however we can, we have permission to be happy, not just at Christmas — but all year.
Merry Christmas - every day!