Welcome back dear reader, and pardon my absence and my neglecting to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! Today is the day after, perhaps best known as Black Friday (although I do not participate in the madness personally. We celebrated Thanksgiving at my daughter’s; she had at least 20 people – pretty much all relatives from both sides of his and hers families. Lots of little ones, lots of chaos and laughter. I am feeling the effects of “the cold” that everyone seems to be talking about, so my time was somewhat dampened by it – in fact I considered not going at all for a while in the morning. But I ended up going and had a good time – lots of great food and company.
The only downside of the day (cold aside) was my son, my daughter-in-law, and my grandkids were not there; they were deeply missed. But I did get to see them a week ago. My middle grandson had his 12th birthday on the 15th so we drove up the Friday after to celebrate and spent Friday night and Saturday with them all. They have had to rent a house for a month or two while their new one is being constructed and completed. The rental is a very nice home and affords them a lot a space and comfort, this after all those months living in a camper! It was marvelous to see them!! I don’t expect to see them again until the week after Christmas when they come down for a couple of days and we have Christmas morning #2!!!
I have not been doing much hiking of late; Halloween, babysitting, trip to Maine, this cold (weather and germ), and starting up the “get ready for Christmas” machine. I am over 300 miles so far, but will certainly not hit my goal of 500 miles this year. Frankly I think 400 miles will be a stretch for me seeing that this year is rapidly drawing to a close. No matter, goals should be difficult to attain and one should never feel dejected for not hitting one goal or another. I hope to get out at some point over the next couple of days.
Speaking of getting ready for Christmas, my house lights are up and are now lit. They’ve actually been up for well over a week; when I took down the Halloween lights, I just went ahead and put up the Christmas lights. But…I did not turn them on until Thanksgiving because, well, because that’s just not right! Truthfully, anytime that feels right to you is the right time; I’ve seen a few Christmas lights up over the last couple of weeks while other will not go up for weeks yet. It’s all good!
The road of life is treacherous enough without having to navigate through it blind. No…not literally blind, perhaps oblivious is a better word. One simply cannot ignore the needs, wants, and desperation of others. Yes, charity begins at home, but that merely means you need to take care of yourself before you tend to others. But it does not forgive our obligation to see – and help – others in need. And yes. I did say obligation. It is more than a social responsibility, more than a spiritual dogma, it is a function of life. To be alive means to be a being of conscience, empathy, compassion, and altruism. The gift of life is the greatest of all possible gifts, but with it comes the responsibility to tend to one’s fellow man.
The spirit of Christmas manifests itself in so many different ways for everyone, rarely the same for any of us. The soulful message of Christmas is filtered by each individual’s life’s experiences and current situation. I do not have the same spirit for Christmas now as I did at age 10. My neighbor’s wife just recently passed aways and his spirit of Christmas may not even ever reach his heart; but it will in future years. And of course, since it is all I know, I speak to you from the perspective of a Christian who has lived his life with Christmas as an integral part of it. But even with my limited scope of knowledge of this world, I have absolute certainty that each and every religion has the “spirit of Christmas” embedded in their specific celebrations of their creator and their special form of worship. Whatever your religion, I hope the “spirit of Christmas” – in your own way – finds you over the coming days and weeks. Stay well dear reader!