Staff Column: Christmas, a time of joy, time of sadness
Christmas and New Years have always been generally regarded as happy and joyous times of the year. And for many they are.
However, there is another side to these holidays, in fact any holiday, when people put into context things that have happened to them on past such occasions.
As kids most of us get really excited about Christmas. As we get older our happiness changes from what Santa will put under the tree for us to a more adult approach of regarding the holiday as a time to regard others with kindness and to be with family. It seems material things in of themselves become less important to us, although its always nice to get a present or two.
But for some young people and certainly for older ones too, these holidays bring great sadness. Just like being broke and without money seems worse when living in a place of great affluence, having pain and sorrow about past negative events tied to the holidays seems even greater when people around you are happy and joyous.
As one gets older, because of that passage of time, it seems one has more of a chance to tie unhappy events to holidays. We make fun of this situation in various ways in our society, particularly in stories and movies. We see people who disregard or discount the holiday as the scrooge; the miserable person down the street who lives alone and never puts up a Christmas tree; the guy who works all the time and never has time for his friends or family; the narcissist who is so caught up in what they are doing that they don't care about anyone else; and the list goes on.
For people like these, though, there is a reason they are the way they are. Some of it could have come from an unhappy childhood, but often something or a series of things has turned them against the spirit of the season. Bad experiences, accidents, mean people and the death of loved in the past close to the holidays can often make people hate this time of year.
If you really look at it, however, rather than ridiculing people that are like this, or making fun of them, they should be the reason we take up the banner of joy of the season and hand it off to them as much as we can. Christmas is obviously a Christian holiday, and for those that hold values that coincide with that spirit of forgiveness and love, these kinds of people are the ones we ought to work toward helping.
Yes, many of them don't see that joy; many may even be resentful of the efforts that others make to include them into the celebration. But all one can do is offer the friendship and the love of the season.
None of us can do anything about how someone else feels or how they look at things. That is up to them. But what we can do is put the best face on the season that we can. We can be good and sharing, helpful and caring, joyous and happy. We can offer what we have to give.
And what more of a present can anyone ask from each of us than that?