Every year I do my best to find some inspiration in the works of past literary greats to help capture the essence of the holiday season (at least as I see it). I look forward to this time of year for many reasons including the symbolic passing of one year into the next which involves both reflection and inspiration. We are certainly the sum of our actions to date, but our future is most definitely what we choose to make of it. As human beings, we are inevitably flawed but we are also blessed with enormous potential.
Christmas for me has always been about acknowledging that there are things more important than ourselves and the individual journey we are taking. We can and should strive to be worthy of our shared humanity and fundamental capacity to do good. The world around us is simply a reflection of our willingness to consider this fact into our life equation and think/act accordingly. Tennyson’s holiday poem does an excellent job articulating this:
Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Best wishes for a healthy, happy, peaceful, and loving holiday season!