Nostalgia floods my heart at this time of year and I find myself pulling out some of my all time favourite movies. This year is no different but my choices seem a little heavier and maybe a little half hearted. I just can’t stomach anything that even sniffs at consumerism this year. Too much bad news contrasted with the sparkle and tinsel of commercialised Christmas.
The opening line of one of my seasonal friends made me take a deep breath this evening though…
‘Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.’
I realised in a moment this is what I have been secretly questioning all week.
How can love win when so much pain and loss is present?
How can I feel safe in a world that seems to be increasingly unsafe?
How do I find security when the stories of friends and families are so deeply tragic?
I am a writer, this is how I make sense of my daily life but I’ve struggled to write this week, confused by a haze of humanity and all the crazy news from my friends, my nation of Australia and the pain throbbing through our world.
Even though horror has plagued my mind, my response has been to kiss the cheeks of my newborn more. I have found myself holding my husband when he comes home from work just a few seconds longer. I have tried to listen more when my two year old tells me that same story just one more time. My natural response has been to pull my loved ones in a little closer. To think about my family a little more and to generally feel grateful about the simple things in my everyday.
Love actually is all around. Despite the tragedy of a young mum, just having a coffee who is now not coming home for Christmas. Even though little people wander and don’t come home. Love is still all around.
Even when young children loose their lives in the most tragic of circumstance. Love lives on.
Love is the bond that ties our hearts together. Hearing stories about whole neighbourhoods coming together to find the lost, reading stories about camaraderie saying ‘We will ride with you’. Humanity has the capacity to bring such evil but also love.
We can choose love.
This Christmas why not focus on those you love, like you never have before.
Be extravagant in letting go of the stuff that doesn’t matter and love harder.
Kiss your loved ones for no reason.
Write letters to your friends and family telling them how much you value them.
Try keeping quiet in that moment of anger, so you don’t regret the words said in haste.
Walk away when a family member says something that upsets you without responding in haste.
Life is fleeting and the tragedy of the news this week has shown this is vivid, full blown colour. Let’s join together and love the ones we are with and make a small difference to bring peace on earth.
Love actually is all around.