Christmas Day – a day when many Christians attend a church service or create a time of family worship for remembering the birth of the baby Jesus.
Other families will be gathering for a big meal and time of exchanging gifts. Some will relish being home with family and others will dread it.
There will be people who are alone and wishing they had a family to be with. And then there are those who have had a loved one die this year and they are wishing they could fast forward through the holidays as quickly as possible.
Depending on where you are on your life's journey, it can be a lovely time or a lonely one.
Growing up in the church, the meaning of Christmas for me has always been about a time of birthing – the coming of new life, the coming of new possibilities, new beginnings, new talents, and perhaps even new relationships.
It is a time to ponder, "What will be born in me this year? A new skill? A new art? A new life?" Maybe you've always wanted to try sculpting, or climbing a mountain or writing a poem or a book, but you’ve been afraid to begin. Maybe this is the year you will dare to step out and give it a try.
I remember ever since I was in high school, I always wanted to play the flute. So in my early 60's, I rented one and signed on for some lessons. It was much harder than I'd imagined. But I practiced and occasionally made some wonderful sounds, but it didn’t take long for me to say, "enough". And with no guilt I withdrew from lessons, returned the flute and felt pleased that at least I’d had a little experience with it.
Trying – and discovering it wasn’t that important after all – was not failure, and it was so much better than coming to the end of my life and saying, "What if?"
Perfectionism is highly overrated and I think it is time many of us need to "put it in its place." Perhaps it is more fun to have tasted many things in life than to have perfected only one.
I think of my friends Les and Sidney Greathouse, retirement age – traveling all over the world, living in Paris and New York City for a time. I remember Les taking off on a motorcycle trip by himself back to the places in Texas where he grew up and Sidney spending a month in a language institute in France to learn to speak French.
Les has taken art lessons and is becoming an accomplished painter, and Sidney discovered the drums and eventually wants to play in a band, although right now she is enrolled in acting lessons and has found roles in some commercials and short films.
I think of my friend Dr. Hanna Saadah, physician, poet and author. A favorite quote of his from Ghaleb is: A heart is an embarrassment to the chest if it's not on fire.
So what lights your fire? Give it some thought. What new birth is waiting for you?