Much of the season is created by our circumstances. When I was happily married with little ones, it was stress-ful, certainly, but it was full of joy and anticipation and fun. Then when that family splintered, I was left with the feeling that I had to 'do it all'. See every Christmas show, participate in every bit of music, over-spend and over-do to make up for the 'brokenness' that was now to be our 'new normal'.
Then the next year, I fell into apathy. Painful, painless apathy. I just didn't care. The tree was purchased, but never decorated until Christmas Eve. The bare minimums were the rule as it was 'his year' for the children. It was lonely and sad, but there were still moments of joy. Even then.
We enter each season with hope, even if that hope is buried deeply and like Ebenezer, shrouded by too many years of hurt to shine forth. Still, we hope that this year, something will be different, better, perfect.
I learned something. I learned that what I believe, is what is. When I believe that I am unloved, unneeded and unnecessary, I am. Simply because I make myself transparent and I don't put forth the effort to brighten the hours of anyone else. When I believe I am loved and surrounded by wonderful loving people, I am. Simply because they respond to me in turn. It is a simple principle when put into action.
This season see if what you look for might be wonder, hope, service, magic and let the stress, grumpy people, commercialism and gluttony pass by unremarkably. It will be a season to remember.