December 23, 2011

Merry (insert your hopes here) Christmas!

Our parrot, Gracie, is mesmerized by Christmas.

"Merry Christmas." I've been saying it all week. Sometimes I say "Happy Holidays." Next week it'll be "Happy New Year." What does it mean to be merry?

Merriam-Webster: 1. archaic : giving pleasure (delightful) 2. full of gaiety or high spirits (mirthful) 3. marked by festivity or gaiety 4. quick, brisk (a merry pace)
Macmillan: 1. British informal: slightly drunk 2. old-fashioned: happy and lively
American Heritage: 1. full of high-spirited gaiety; jolly 2. marked by or offering fun and gaiety; festive 3. archaic: delightful; entertaining 4. brisk
Collins English Dictionary 1. cheerful; jolly 2. very funny; hilarious 3. Brit. informal slightly drunk 4. archaic delightful
Farlex Trivia Dictionary   "First meant 'peaceful' or 'pleasant,' which is what it first meant in "Merry Christmas."

When I wish you a "Merry Christmas" I am wishing you this:

Photo taken from our kitchen window.
"I hope that this season and this day are what you wish them to be this year. If you need family and friends around you (not fighting) and children opening presents (in a happy, light-hearted, non-demanding way) and good food (that is lovingly prepared, artfully presented, or economically delivered), then that is what I wish for you.

"If you dream of a day to reflect on tradition (religious or family or country), to count your blessings, to remember past holidays (with everything noted in previous paragraph)…then that is what I wish for you.

"If you wish an end to commercialism, an end to the hectic feeling of not measuring up to a media-driven image of holiday perfection, an end to the pressure to believe (or do) something that doesn't fit (your brain, heart, family), the hope of an end to personal hardships (financial, medical, or emotional)…then that is what I wish for you."

When I wish someone a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday, I mean to include not exclude. In our culture here in southeast Ohio, this is a rather typical thing to say. I am also happy to say "Happy Kwanzaa" or "Happy Chanukah" or "Happy New Year," or "Have a good day." I am open to learning new ways to wish goodwill to others.

I would rather be thought old-fashioned by a person with a heart "two sizes too small" than hard-hearted by a person whose heart might be lonely, challenged, or breaking. I have nothing to prove at Christmas time and this is a wonderful thing. I am free to make this holiday what I need it to be, (without any "shoulds" internally or externally imposed) and to let my hope for this time of year evolve as I grow, drawing on the traditions and memories and "peaceful and pleasant" associations that have led me to appreciate this season. I can also set others to go all out with "high-spirited gaiety" or ignore the day altogether.

I suppose at the heart of what I wish for those I love and those I meet is that they will have what they need to create the December 25th -- and all that poor day seems burdened to hold -- that will do their heart and soul and spirit the most good.

Christmas Day is almost here. From our home to yours…Merry Christmas!

With Tyler, who loves Christmas Day.

PS: Mark and I have received many wonderful, beautiful cards this year and we treasure each one. For the first year ever I have had to forego printed cards due to chronic tendonitis in my writing hand, (which is now, thankfully, nearly healed). I hope this post will serve as a Christmas card of sorts to those of you who mean so much to me. And if I have lived the spirit of Christmas all year long, then you know who you are. Thank you for making my life wonderful.


Glynis said...

Καλά Χριστούγεννα! (Kala Krystoueyenna) Greek for Happy Christmas!

May 2012 be wonderful for you and all your dreams come true. x

February Grace said...

Merry Christmas to you, Mark, and the family (furry, feathered and human-type people as well!) All the best in 2012.


J.R.Poulter/J.R.McRae said...

Bless you Janice! Have a 'wonder' full Christmas and a 'bounty' full New Year! :)

Janice said...

Glynis: Seren's first Christmas! How exciting for your family. I hope 2012 is a wonderful year for you and your writing as well.

Bru: Thank you for stopping by and for the good wishes. We also wish you all the best for health, happiness, and creativity in the coming year. May your dreams come true, whatever those dreams may be!

J.R.: Thank you! Much success in 2012 with your wonderful book!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, Janice! Look forward to seeing you in 2012 - celebrating our memories.

Janice Phelps Williams said...

Tania, Thank you so much for stopping by! Can't wait to see you soon!

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