Their eyes were soft and wide as they sat with their parents and grandparents waiting for drinks to arrive. At first I assumed more young were migrating in from the big cities, but like others we’ve encountered this week, they’ve flown in for the festive season and this little town is busting with new energy.
Some of the shops are half empty of goods, there’s no newspapers, mail isn’t being delivered, trains are about to stop. Add on Brexit, put in a war, stir in Climate Change and no wonder the general cheer seems thinner this year at a time when most of us forget our worries and celebrate an imaginary scenario involving camels, stars and miraculous births.
Many Christmases ago, Camilla asked our Maasai friend what he thought of Christmas and he laughed. “Christianity is great! This church hands out free blankets, that one parcels of food and they each think that we’ve become Christian. As for Jesus, what a lovely story to tell children.”
And what myths we make to comfort ourselves. The Christmas one, stolen from pagans who marked the first lengthening day by dressing up and dancing under mistletoe and decorating their doors with holly berries and the evergreen ivy and feasting. We take on these thought trains and make them integral to our lives and assume mid-winter life without the turkey, the toys, the booze, is subzero, without realising it is we who made them up.
Those little eyes from a seaside town in Portugal, were delighted by the lights strung across the street and decorating the buildings. That the country is falling apart doesn’t matter to them. Create that new mindset and we too can get that comfort and joy any time we wish. I had to regenerate mine as the curtains let in the early light this morning and it was worth it, for the walk through town was positive and vitalising. Whether you believe or not, may your mid-winter be regenerative and joyful.