As a part of our family’s holiday tradition, we have English crackers at the end of our Christmas dinner. The crackers come with a crown and a joke inside; and, I add an inspirational quotation and a small trinket of some kind. At the end of our meal, we pop the crackers, don our crowns, and each person reads his joke and then his quotation aloud. It is one of my favorite parts of our celebration; and, the perfect end of the day.
In selecting the quotations, I try to identify some theme that relates to what the members of my family have been experiencing over the past year. This year my first thought was to use quotations related to change; but, as I thought more about it, I realized that change was the theme last year. In fact, change is the theme every year. The one constant in our lives is change.
So, if this is simply a reality of our lives, what is it that helps us to negotiate the changes that we all experience? I believe the most important factor is connection to loving, supportive family members and friends. Having others share our joy in response to positive change multiples that joy exponentially. A willingness to walk with another, as well as, the willingness to allow others to walk with us, through a painful experience is perhaps the greatest gift we can give or receive. We tend to underestimate the power of our presence, our willingness to just be there in the experience together.
This time of year is filled with ritual and tradition. Many may seem somewhat trivial – the menu, the trip to ride the Pink Pig, the annual cookie baking. They are anything but trivial. They are the very experiences that build our connections, our foundations. These are the experiences that make our lives rich and worthwhile.