Is it over yet?
We’ve muttered such things all through the year, haven’t we. Perhaps in more expletive, frustrated and less quotable terms, but the note, at any rate, holds a familiar and, let’s face it, agonising tone.
“I’m sick of this! When can we go back to normal? I’m not doing it again”.
I heard these words recently whilst admiring the stalls down at our local Christmas Market. Except, much to my surprise and dismay, they were not utterances referring to the virus and the subsequent restrictions brought upon us by it. Nor were they complaints about booster jabs or the existence of PCR tests or Covid Passports. They were speaking, to my profound horror, about Christmas.
Of course, one is free and open to speak their own mind. You are not obliged to enjoy or celebrate the season, if should be your own personal fashion or culture. It is your life to live how, where and why you choose. Something, in itself, we should all be eternally thankful for.
However, it would be a lie to say that it didn’t, for a moment at least, pull a curtain of gloom over my heart. The bitterness in which these words were spoken was sharp, truly meant and not, needless to say, entirely in keeping with the festive ambience of our surroundings. Nothing that Mariah Carey and a cup of gluwein couldn’t blast away, of course. But a wince one could simply have done without in a time that is already, to criminally understate, suitably and miserably peculiar.
For our part, here at Belvoir Edinburgh, and for what it’s worth, we absolutely and unashamedly love this most magical time of the year.
Yes, it’s bright, loud, ridiculous and, well, let’s just say it, peculiar in its own sort of special way. If aliens came down right now, or any December come to that, they would surely wonder what on earth was going on. “What are these crazy monkeys? And what are they doing? Turn around! I’m not staying here. We’ll find somewhere else to conquer. These earth creatures have clearly lost their marbles”
But it is also a joyous, hopeful, loving and generous season. It is a time when we can, if we have the courage, be children once more and dare to have that innocent sense of wonder that allows us to believe in magic and dare to dream of better things to come. It is, to put it bluntly, an opportunity to reveal the best of ourselves and try, as best we can, to keep it with us over the weeks, months and years to come.
We are weary. There is no denying that. The year 2021 has been as dizzying and gut wrenching as they could possibly come. It wasn’t the year we hoped, that’s for sure, when the bells struck midnight and the glasses danced to the sky on that last Hogmanay not twelve months ago.
As the year begins to wind down, it would be very easy to despair and lash out to the heavens “I’m sick of this! When can we go back to normal? I’m not doing this again!”
That, however, is not who we are. Well, most of us at least. I hope for that gentleman, whose screech made my ears turn inside out, that the festive spirit finds him and finds him soon. I’ve no doubt that it will.
The trees are up. The music is playing. The colours of Christmas are all around.
Have the very best and merry of times. May it be sparkly and tasty and full of love. Pause, reflect and take in all that you have and what you can give to others. And don’t forget about your inner child. There is still a part of you that still wants to search the skies on Christmas Eve…Let it.
From everyone here at Belvoir Edinburgh, a very, very merry Christmas to you all.