There is nothing I love more in this world than Christmas music… except, maybe Christmas cookies and decorations. The entire season excites me so much and despite the shorter hours of daylight and the chillier temperatures, I can’t help but smile when I see a house decorated with lights or a wreath hanging on a door. It’s a special time of year.
I’ll admit, all of that sounds superficial. What difference does some twinkly lights make to our lives? Well, I believe that all the beauty and decor that goes along with Christmas just helps to stand in for what the season really means: hope.
The holidays bring us together. In my family, we have a tradition of baking Christmas cookies. When I was a little girl, this would be a whole day activity with all my aunts and uncles. Today, the tradition has become just my mom and I as many of our relatives have passed away, but when we bake our family recipe of strufoli, it’s like they’re still with us. I can hear my Aunt Loretta’s laughter in the kitchen and my Uncle Joey’s patient voice as he explains to me how you have to roll the dough. In those moments of baking, I feel so much hope that my family is still with me. My mom and I always grow closer after a day of baking, because I know she feels it too. Our family is not lost from us, but within us. In those moments, I can’t help but feel hope that the world is a beautiful place, because my family is made of the most beautiful people and if they’re still with me in some way, life has to be spectacular.
This year, I’m trying to bring this feeling of hope I get from my family holiday traditions to everyone I know. I’m hosting a Christmas party, I’m getting a group together to spend an afternoon decorating cookies, and I’m volunteering in my community. Life is so stressful and hard most of the time– I want people to be able to take a moment to see it is still beautiful. I want people to feel hopeful and excited for the future.
When I look at Christmas decorations, I see so much beauty in this world. I see people just trying to make the world a happier place, one light at a time. When I participate in gift exchange, I feel so much care and affection. Someone took time to think of what would make me happy. When I listen to a Christmas song, I smile because this is a season that brings people together and brings out the best in them.
This holiday season, let yourself be filled with hope that the world is still a happy and caring place. Let yourself believe that the world is good and there’s so much more than your daily stress. That hope you feel inside when you do, that’s what Christmas is all about.
It really is a wonderful life.