This time of year raises many thoughts about who we are and what our place in the world is, it is also a time where those who hold the faith of Christianity give thanks for the birth of the son of their God, and also to many in this world, it is a time of capital gains at the end of a long year of hard work. I find the lines blur as Christmas becomes a complicated affair of balancing what we earn with what we give, and who we decide to indulge as a member of our circle of family and friends, and it does appear that at some point in the madness that has become Christmas in the modern age, we do appear to loose sight of what it truly means, and so I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on this festive event.
I have spent my entire life working with plants, so what is seen as the ‘Old Ways of the Woodsman’ is very relevant to my life and to who I have become, so for myself this time of year has traditionally been a time for reflection, as the plant world sleeps below the frosts and the snow through the darkness of short days, and awaits the arrival of the sun in the coming spring. At this time of year I reap the reward of the seeds and harvests which have been safely stored, and I take a very well earned time of rest with my family, as I begin to plan the new coming of the next year.
Like all other members of the Earth Faiths, I surround myself with the life I tend in my daily routine, and so the dressing of a tree is very significant, as it represents that life of my world sleeping through the Winter as I enjoy the feasting surrounded with those I work so hard to provide for.
I think it matters not what your faith is at this time of year, because if you look to all religions, no matter how diverse, they do
indeed share one similar bond, and that is that we all unite and give thanks for what we have done, and what is important to us at this time of year, and take that small moment to voice our thoughts and share it with those who are like minded.
Something that has been highlighted to me very deeply this year is the importance of family and friends, and what each individual member represents to me. It has been a very hard and difficult year for myself, and many of those who surround me, I am not sure that I know anyone who has not struggled and worried all year, the economic situation around the whole world is taking its toll, and as I write this on the Eve of Christmas, I know so many who have a great deal less than they would normally have, but I cannot help but ponder if it really does matter what material things surround us tonight, as long as we have our health and each other.
In the Heirs to the Kingdom, I do place a lot of importance on the true meaning of family, for myself this is deeply significant, because it has not always been the easiest of situations for me, as my parents separated when I was very young, and so I have always been caught between the two, and to be very honest it has been very turbulent for me at times. I lost my father at the age of four, and did not see him again until I was in my mid thirties, which had a very profound affect on me, my relationship with mother has always been turbulent, and for a long time I lived my life away from all of my family feeling I had nothing in common with them, and was better off without them. So it feels more important to me tonight, as I have worked very hard to forge new links and find peace with all my family in the past ten years.
This Christmas I will be surrounded like my characters in my books, with my family and also the family of my new wife, as this year we took the plunge and vowed our commitment to each other. Its not been the best year for book sales, like those who read many books, I too have cut my spending to make things such as fuel bills and food a priority to get my family through
safely, but too be honest it is not that important, because what I find matters to me tonight is that my family for now are safe and I have come through another year with them unharmed.
I have my mother, who although aging will join me tomorrow for a day with her grandchildren, I am at peace with all my brothers, who have had a struggle at times this year, but I can embrace them and be glad to know they are safe, and I will visit my father and my lovely step mother who have become very precious and special to me, and most importantly I have my wife and my children to share all of it at my side.
Despite all the past conflicts and fallings out that I have seen within my family, tonight they feel very precious and more important than ever before, and I think in the past I have lacked the wisdom to fully understand their significance in my life and I am grateful to finally have that understanding.
I suppose in conclusion what I am saying is forget the importance of the material, and embrace what is there and always has been, lets be honest, family can drive you to the point of murder, but no matter how dysfunctional they might at first appear, they are the one thing you have now, and love or hate them, they are important, whether you realise it or not.
May your celebrations be safe and peaceful, enjoy this time….