Helen's Mulberry Lane Farm Journal
Let's Have Some Thanksgiving at Christmas!
Are you overwhelmed and stressed out yet?
For those of you who don't have time to read this, this is especially for you.
Turn off the blaring Christmas music in the background, take the cookies out of the oven, and sit down and ponder this wonderful piece of writing by Erin Barnett the Director of LocalHarvest. Local Harvest. (Article used by permission.)
She wrote this piece with Thanksgiving in mind but it works for Christmas too. Just change the word Thanksgiving to Christmas to get the full impact for where you are right now.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For weeks I look forward to preparing a beautiful meal and relaxing with my family. Sadly, Thanksgiving night invariably finds me deflated. I regret having gotten irritable in the final crazy minutes of gravy making and turkey carving or feel dispirited by the lack of meaningful conversation at the table. I miss the family members who are absent. I wish people would have gotten along better and connected more deeply. The list of discontents varies from year to year but the theme is the same: it didn't turn out exactly as I had hoped.
This year I am on to myself. All month I've been thinking about letting go of my imaginary ideals and showing up with an open heart for whatever happens. I anticipate that it may be a little hard to pull off on the big day. I know I'm not alone. For many people the holidays are a time of heightened need for things to be a particular way. Certainly there's nothing wrong with wanting a lovely holiday. But high expectations can hold us in their grip. What we want to see blinds us to what is actually in front of us and diminishes it. If we then distance ourselves from the imperfect, that gap makes it even harder to connect to things as they are. It is only in approaching a thing — be it this particular holiday meal or an individual human being — with attention that we can fully appreciate it, for all its faults and strengths, for all its funky uniqueness. Paying attention with kindness opens us to the wholeness around us. From there it is a short leap to gratitude. That which we see deeply enough can virtually always be counted as a blessing.
As we each look around our Thanksgiving tables next week, may we focus on the kindness and generosity that is shared between us and give thanks for the day we have been given, whether or not it is the one we had imagined.
Blessings on your holiday table.
Keep in mind that your family won't remember all the stuff, but they will remember the family warmth and the laughter. In the photo above from left to right: Rachel (my daughter), me, 'Beka (my daughter) and Esther (my daughter-in-love), Fall 2012.
I am grateful for what is and ready for what is to come.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!