The holidays are so full, don’t you think?
Hmmm. I can just see your minds scattering a thousand different directions as they interpret that statement. Most of us instantly picture a calendar filled with notations about parties, recitals, school programs, church events, neighborhood gatherings, and all the other events that tend to fill up our Decembers. A few of us are thinking about baking and how we’re going to find time to get everything done before the family gets together or maybe even how we’re going to fit everyone around the table. Late shoppers are listing gift recipients, trying to figure out how to maximize those trips into the retail jungle.
But I was thinking more along the simple lines of emotional fullness.
Within this season are the feelings of joy and happiness and completeness as friends and families gather. And, there is the hopeful expectation in the hearts of children. But, there are layers of other emotions as we prepare for the holidays, some of them not so joyful. We find frustration, doubt, and melancholy just as often as anticipation, fulfillment, and love. Some hearts ache while others sing.
As writers, this time of year can provide so much inspiration. By just stopping and seeing what is happening, we can see all those emotions reflected in the faces and gestures and voices of those around us. One harried shopper or a couple in love or a lonely homeless person can show us emotional depth that we can later use as we develop characters and their reactions to the world around them.
But, the season can also inspire us in other ways, all of us—not just writers. It can inspire us to be more aware of the world. As we look about and actually notice the broad range of emotions that are out there during this season, it might help some of us offer a smile to an unhappy shopper or a hug to someone who is alone or volunteer to make the holidays better for those in need.
Look around you this season. Take note. Respond. Who knows, someone may smile back or offer us a hug when we need it most.
I hope all of you find joy in the season, in whatever way it presents itself.