Some time in the last year, I read that the main emotion conveyed by fantasy storytellers is awe. Those are my favorite kind of stories. Perhaps the fantastic and the awe-inspiring are what make the month of December my favorite month. In these four weeks of the year, so many religions celebrate holidays that bring out the feeling of awe from Hanukkah to the Winter’s Solstice and Kwanza. For me, I have always loved Christmas.
This year my family is celebrating all twelve days of Christmas, something we don’t tend to do in America very much. I believe in other parts of the world Christmas day is only the beginning, not the end of the holiday season. My youngest son is learning the Twelve Days of Christmas carol while my oldest son is learning selections from the Nutcracker Suite. Hearing them practice these songs makes me so happy. Our house is decorated with sparkling lights, Christmas globes, candy canes and boughs of evergreens. I am very aware that we lived a blessed life compared to so many people in the world.
Yet, life isn’t only about holidays and happy news.
Yesterday, my oldest son called me on his cell phone to ask me if I had heard the news about Nelson Mandela. I had just dropped off my youngest son at a basketball game and was sitting in my car about to go inside. While this news wasn’t surprising due to Mandela’s age of 95, I still found myself shocked in a certain way and needing to cry for a few minutes. As sad as I am about the passing of Nelson Mandela, I am also in awe of his life.
It seems fitting that Mandela would pass from this world to the next during a season when we take the time to honor and appreciate that which is unexpected and hopeful. When he was born, who would have expected him to change South Africa and the world in the way that he did?
Christmas is celebrated in honor of another man who was born into humble circumstances over 2000 years ago, who also in a completely unexpected way changed the world. Jesus taught the greatest commandment is to love God with your whole heart, and the second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself. It seems to me that few people have demonstrated how to love your neighbor as yourself better than Nelson Mandela, and showing us how to love. I am so grateful to him.
As we move through December, I am grateful for all the people in the world both famous and anonymous who make the world a kinder, more forgiving and peaceful place. So many of you who read my blog and write your own are in one way or another are dedicated to making the world brighter, kinder, and more just. Thank you for your service to our shared world.
May you find great delight, comfort and peace in this season of awe.
I believe 2014 is going to be an awesome year, and I’ll be writing about that in the next couple of weeks.
What fills you with awe at this time in your life?
- Obama lights National Christmas Tree, pays tribute to Nelson Mandela (wyff4.com)
- South Africans mourn, celebrate Mandela (thedailystar.net)