Millions of people celebrated at least several holidays in recent months. From Halloween to Thanksgiving, from Christmas to Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day, these past months were filled with months of celebrations and the sharing of light and love. Many people around the world visited beloved families and friends, spent time off for relaxation and travel, followed holiday traditions, and prepared the most delicious dishes of the entire year. During the holiday season, many of us give thanks for the blessings received throughout the year and pray for more good fortune in the coming year.
During these cheerful moments, we make toasts looking into our loved ones’ eyes showing them our appreciation of their presence, drink, eat, and celebrate the good times of our lives. During these months of celebration and homecomings, many of us become very charitable as well, perhaps even more so than at other times during the year. Larger tips are given to people who serve us every day, money is donated to charities, food and clothes are shared with the homeless making sure they too have a cozy stay. There seems to be more kindness and unconditional love in the air during these times. We pick up a book that the person in front of us dropped; we give a smile to a child; we ask the store clerk how his or her family is doing. I could write a long list here. I am certain that you would have a long one too.
What about the next morning?
What about when the holiday season is over? What about the day after the holiday? Being cheerful, loving, and charitable during the holidays is not difficult. Who does not love celebrating and sharing a little bit of that bliss with others? The challenge begins the next morning. I believe that we are here on this planet Earth to love and be loved. I believe that we are here to make the best of our lives and enjoy the good times. I believe that many of us are blessed beyond our own needs in order to share our wealth with those less fortunate. Yes, holidays are meant to be celebrated. Houses are wonderful when decorated. Holiday meals and special foods not cooked every day are certainly among my favorites. I love holidays and celebrating. I think most people do. However, what about the next morning?
What about the day after the holiday when the party guests have gone home, leftovers stored in the fridge, candles are blown out, the music turned off, gifts put away, wrapping paper thrown out, and lights taken down? It is easy to share with others and celebrate with people we care about. Human beings have celebrated and followed holiday traditions for probably thousands of years. Humanity is sharing with and caring for others. Real humanity is doing so when the party is over. The real message here is to keep celebrating after the holiday.
The next morning, continue sharing your smile with the person next to you. The next morning, keep donating your food, clothes, or money. The next morning, keep donating your time by volunteering for a good cause important to you. Keep caring about others. Take someone in who needs shelter, a warm meal and someone who listens. Be the friend anyone can count on in times of need and in times of cheer. Pick up what the person in front of you dropped with a smile. Ask the janitor how his or her weekend was. Give what you can to others. Share your holiday joy after the holiday. Keep celebrating life not because it’s a holiday but because it’s the next morning so that we never have to ask ourselves again what the world will look like after the holidays. If we all do our part of sharing and caring, just as during the traditional holidays, love is in the air everywhere and – every day of the year. Keep shining with your hearts once the holiday lights are turned off for the season.
Copyright © 2018 by Barbara Bullock, M.F.A., spiritual writer
Photo credit © 2017 by Barbara Bullock. Photo taken in Kuesnacht, Switzerland December 2017.
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