“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future… It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”
Yesterday, I came across this wonderful yet very poignant quotation by the late Agnes M. Pharo, a well-respected American writer and artist from the mid-20th century.
We are coming to the end of a very strange and arduous year with Christmas looming around the corner. So, who would have thought that many years on, Agnes’s quote would be even more profound and relevant today?
2020 has been difficult for many people for lots of different reasons. Some families have lost loved ones and others have been separated between counties and even continents. Businesses have been impacted and many have fallen on hard times.
Whether we have been unaffected by the Pandemic or not, all of us find ourselves living in these unknown and challenging territories.
Christmas is certainly going to be a strange one this year. Yet, when I read the words of this wonderful lady, I am reminded of how this is a time for peace, reflection and hope.
Breaking it down, I see there are a number of important lessons for all of us to learn and grow from.
- The line “tenderness for the past” reminds me that Christmas is a time for families, remembering loved ones and special moments of days gone by. And if anything, maybe this year has taught us to appreciate the simple things in life and to cherish every moment.
- The “courage for the present” tells me that it’s okay to realise it’s not perfect. Yet, if we dig deep and make the best of what we can do right now, we can get through this – because we are all stronger than we think.
- The line “hope for the future” gives promise for many possibilities. We need to believe we can shape our future and as Desmond Tutu once said “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness”.
- The final line “… It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.” We need to believe that 2021 will be better. If we open our minds, we can all grow from this difficult experience and become better people as we embark on a new future.