Christmas Eve. It’s a time for travel, and for settling in. Whether the celebration of Christmas is part of your faith or not, in many places you will notice that there is anticipation in the air, and welcome, and waiting, and then, stillness.
If you have the chance, it is a good time to take quiet moments to look up at the sky. Sunsets and sunrises are often beautiful in deep winter, wherever you may find yourself. As I write this in 2018 the moon will be nearly full on winter nights between solstice and Christmas. With that brightness, you may have to look a bit longer for stars, but they are there.
Christmas Eve is a good time for other sorts of quiet moments, too. Time to think, a walk outdoors, sharing a cup of tea or cocoa with a friend are all good to consider. If you find yourself in the midst of travel or of holiday rush or working to serve those who are finishing their preparations, the best gift you may give yourself is still making a bit of time to think. Perhaps you can find ways to share that — or a kind word or a smile — with someone else, too.
If you are able, you may want to respond to the holiday spirit of giving and generosity. There are folk near and far who would welcome your kindness. Do not know who to ask about this where you are? On the road or at home, folk at the public library are often great resources. A few more ideas: Red Cross/Red Crescent and Concern International work across the globe. People in the Florida Panhandle . are rebuilding from Hurricane Michael; in Puerto Rico, there are still effects from Hurricane Maria; in California wild fires destroyed many homes.
If you’d enjoy being in the kitchen on Christmas Eve: Try this warming cinnamon swirl bread recipe from chef Stephanie Stiavetti
Here at Perceptive Travel we have taken many winter trips all across the world and we have, of course, found stories to tell, and ideas for holiday gifts too. The gifts of travel also include less tangible things: connection, communication, understanding, sharing, laughter, learning, good memories. Things we share with you here in winter and through the year.
Christmas is part of my story; so is Ireland. In Ireland and in those often far flung places where Ireland’s sons and daughters have settled. there’s a tradition of leaving a candle in the window at Christmas. As a child I was told this was meant to show Mary and Joseph, weary travelers seeking rest, that they would find welcome in the homes where lights shone in the windows, and to remind us to share welcome with present day visitors as well.
Whatever your thoughts on the Christmas story, may you feel that welcome, and that hope, as you see lights and stars shining this Christmas Eve. May you find welcome in your travels through the year, as well.
A reflection from an earlier Christmas Eve, with a message from an Irish poet
A bit of music to go along, the title track from Matt and Shannon Heaton’s recording Fine Winter’s Night.
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