When I taught Intercultural Communication, this principle is one I always hoped my students would take to heart by the end of the class because traveling to three different continents than the one I was born on gave me first hand experience in how vital a lesson this is. Martin Luther King, Jr. says it best:
Today is the second Sunday of Advent: Peace.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or so the song claims. I tend to agree, but also know that such expectation can often leave us wanting more. The wonder and magic of the season can get lost amid the running around, the shopping, the parties, the traveling. Not to mention wrestling with emotional disappointments, family drama, and personal loss. With so much riding on this season it is easy to let it drag us down when it seems like it should pick us up.
Whenever I say, ‘Santa Lucia,’ I can’t help picturing – and, frankly, hearing – Don Knots attempting to sing the traditional Italian song as Barney Fife in The Andy Griffith Show. So many other, better singers have recorded it, but for some reason, Knots’ is the version that sticks in my head.
However, that was not my first interaction with the celebration known as the Feast Day of St. Lucy. I first learned about the primarily Swedish holiday from Kristen’s Surprise, one of the books in Kristen’s American Girl series. Being part Swede and part Italian myself, Santa Lucia Day has become a holiday that fascinates me.
It’s that most wonderful time of the year. But even with lights, family, presents, holiday movies, and great food, one emotion often eludes us: Peace. We can have everything on our wish list, but that settled calm seems to slip through our fingers.
When a tragedy, such as the recent events in Florida, strikes, I find myself either staring at the television in horror or running from every form of media because my heart is too broken to bear any more.
It’s that time of year, the election year. I don’t plan to address politics, actually I plan to do the opposite. Because, growing up in Chicago taught me one thing about politics… you have to shake your head and keep smiling (after you’ve voted early and often, of course).
Christmas is my favorite time of year. It is a time of light and warmth and family. For some, it is a challenging time of year, whether because of the loss of loved ones or because they are unable to make it home for the holidays. Perhaps this depth of realization of the things that really matter in life is what makes me love this holiday even more.