I didn’t quite know what to do with Christmas 2014. Miracles have transpired this year, though also much tragedy. The answer came in the form of the beautiful Donna. She delivered boxes, which filled up my garage on the 23rd. My daughter and I had a ball sorting through them, making bags to give to Street Pax, putting together personalised hampers and two carloads of goods for The Exodus Foundation. It gave me a focus, in the midst of great sadness. My little girl was thrilled to be an elf.
The atmosphere was reflective, given current events. Families celebrated together and children made new friends, unafraid and full of excitement.
As my daughter busied herself with decorating cookies for Santa, my thoughts turned to Serena on Christmas Eve, and the precious mother and young sons she had left behind. I would have called in on her, but she wasn’t at home. I needed to go for a drive, and found myself at Martin Place, where the Salvation Army were having their carols.
The atmosphere was defiant. There were more people than usual. We all needed to be there. I met a lady who asked for directions. She was in her sixties and told me that she had invited her friend to accompany her, but she was too frightened to come. “I am glad you weren’t,” I smiled, squeezing her hand. We watched as the Salvation Army performed with their timbrels.
Afterward, we walked up Martin Place, past the Lindt café. A food van was parked, and the area was teeming with the homeless and those on the periphery. They smiled at my little girl, and we stopped to talk with them. Tears sprang in my eyes. So many people. The hidden and forgotten in our society. Thank God for those whom refuse to discard them. They are people, as worthy as you or I. The true meaning of Christmas was found here. My daughter asked questions, and it made her more determined to do good in this world. I have been in refuges, and know of many who are but a few pay slips away from here. In the midst of it all, we managed to visit a few friends.
This beautiful print from Luke Clenton Photography. He is incredibly talented, a friend’s teenage son.
I cried when I received this, a montage of Serena and I. Oh, how I miss you.
Christmas Day, we went to Ashfield Uniting Church, and heard a profound sermon from Reverend Bill Crews. I opened a bottle of champagne at home when a friend called in, then we spent Christmas night with a dear family.
A turbulent Christmas was salvaged by love. Overtures of kindness from strangers in Martin Place, through to cuddles and cards from friends. Foster kids living on my street gifted my daughter a gorgeous teddy bear. There is still light, and there is certainly still hope. We just have to build upon it.
Wherever you are in the world, and however you celebrated this season, we are all connected. As we reflect on 2014, and prepare for the new 2015, let’s keep the kindness up, not forgetting ourselves. We have to be replenished before pouring benevolence onto this suffering world.