Christmas can be hard. I have friends who are clinging on by their fingernails, watching the approach of fake festivity with dread.
It is no surprise that cultural assumptions around Christmas impose a kind of torture on those who feel out of sorts with them.
Perhaps this is you. In part, it will be me, not only because of recent losses, but also because I tend towards the meloncholy, particularly at this time of year. However, In my case at least, this is not the whole story. I am blessed not to be alone for a start, and my table will not be empty. Still, I will struggle and sowill look for small moments beyond the inevitable excesses when things are deeper and these will be my Christmas.
To those of you who struggle, often in secret, to ‘get through’ Christmas, I want to say this; it is no shame to opt out of what you need to opt out of. There is nothing wrong with doing what you must to get by. If you need to grit your teeth and watch back-to-back episodes of old TV programmes, do it. If you need to stay in bed with a good book and try to forget the whole thing, this is fine too. There are days when these things are necessary.
There might be moments though. Small things known only to you. Tiny exchanges between you and the mercy that holds you. They will be easily missed and soon forgotten, unless you reach out and take them in your hands.
This poem is a prayer for the same…
To you whose hope
Know this tender thing;
The bruised old sky above you
(Which seems to yawn indifference)
Is, in fact, leaking light.
Particles tumble down
Like this promise;
I am here
Where you are
For I know what you know
I see what you see
The fences you built are no protection
My stars leave no shadow
And in this gentle light