Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Posted: December 24, 2013 in Community, Family
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It’s Christmas 2013. It has finally arrived. I feel like a prize fighter who’s gone the distance in an epic 12-round fight. 2013 has been a wild ride. So many things have happened, some I want to remember forever, and others I’d rather forget. It goes without saying that most people likely feel the same way. But this year, more than ever, I am reflecting upon the melancholy that has become Christmas time.

In my youth, Christmas meant so much more….or so I thought. Not as commercialized to be sure, but from my young perspective, it was magical. Note the word ‘perspective’. It must have been a stressful time of year for my parents to put together gifts for 5 children, host meals with large gatherings, attend other equally large feasts, and work copious amounts of hours at their jobs to enable all this magic to happen.

I miss all that. That feeling. The anticipation. The family gatherings. The love and emotion and camaraderie.  The magic that once was. I still feel a watered-down amount of all of these, as our own situations are vastly different than 40 years ago, the times that I am longing for. We do our best to recreate it all at this time of year, but as time passes, there are less people to share it with. People pass away, move away, or just move on into other circles.

In the 21 years of marriage my wife and I have shared, we have had many great Christmases. But factor in Autism, Asperger’s, family bickering, and aging children, and slowly but surely we have whittled down our fellow celebrators. It’s just been easier. Without realizing it, really, there are now far less people to share it with. It’s like being in a lifelong game of Survivor. Before you know it, there are only 4 people left on the island, and there is only so much room left.

And then, something magical happened. On a whim, we decided to change houses. Not just any house, either. It’s the home my dad built, the very home where I spent those awesome Christmases 40 years ago. We move there early next year. So this year, we are getting together with my wife’s father for Christmas Eve, one last time in a house my wife has lived in for 33 years. My parents are in Florida, likely for their last Christmas there (it is getting increasingly difficult for them to do this). This move has made us reflect on our private existence, this self-imposed exile, mostly by choice. And how we can make changes and recapture the magic that is not only Christmas, but also life.

So many times in life, being alone is not by choice. So to choose this lifestyle is illogical, and a lot tougher than you can imagine. To let it go is even harder. But it is also liberating. Letting people physically back into our lives is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our children. Back to basics. Back to family, friends, and neighbours.

As we turn the page that is Christmas 2013, let me wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and tidings of comfort and joy for a wonderful 2014. Celebrate life!

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