Think of the best of today. No matter what you have going on with your life, probably at some point you have at least one positive memory. Hopefully, you have plenty - gifts and family around the tree, no place to be but with the people you love, food and song and happiness... This is a day designed for joy.
I have many great Christmas memories: such as being with some great people who are no longer with us, the magical carols sung by a whole congregation in a huge Washington cathedral, going to Santa Barbara overnight to pick up my best friend who would otherwise be alone and bring him back to San Bernardino (5 hour round trip), having the best time with family-less friends in my apartment for a Christmas evening brunch, and just sitting with my nieces while they pounce around the living room from gift to gift. When done correctly, we use this day to both give of ourselves to ensure those around us feel joy, as well as open our hearts to the sometimes difficult task of receiving it. Imagine a single day specifically designed to create joy in this world.
Monsignor Sal, my pastor at Saint Patrick's in DC, likes to recommend that every day should be Christmas. Christmas is the model for our lives and our world. We should be giving every day. We should be trying to make people happy. We should seek peace in all that we do. We should allow love to flow into our hearts. We should be guided by the best of principles and hopes every day. There should be joy and it should be our mission to seek it on a regular basis. Take the best of today, and find a way to make the other 364 days not so ordinary. The original gift of Christmas was to save us from ourselves and the chaos that we make of an otherwise magnificent place. Hopefully, we can accept that... today, tomorrow, and the next.
May your Christmas be filled with peace, love, family, friends, and the joy that inspires your heart to persevere. God bless us all.
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