I arrived in Portland around 5:30 Friday evening, lots of traffic coming into the city. Holiday time, weekends and rush hour aren't usually a great mix. The city looked beautiful, with snowflakes hanging, and even though it was a bit foggy, I could see the city lights reflected in the water as I drove up I-5.
When I made it downtown, parked in a parking garage and started walking down Washington Street, the city looked magical. All the trees were lit with what looked like very pale green lights (they could have been white, not really sure), people were out everywhere, walking briskly in their scarves and hats on what I am guessing to be a rather unseasonably warm Portland evening in December. There was life all around me, it was vibrant. It felt like Christmas, the type of Christmas I always dream of. Those dreams include; cold weather, bustling city shoppers, lots of lights, Christmas carols off in the distance, and a feeling of calm even in the sometimes hectic-ness of all it.
I was here last year at this time too. This will be my third year in a row to come to Portland to spend Christmas with my daughter and it always brings home the true spirit of Christmas. Home is where your heart is. So I guess your "home" can be many places at the same time. It comes down to people, people you love, people you care about, maybe just as Barbra Streisand has said, people who need people.
For this one season it seems we put our financial worries, our health worries, our general life worries on the back burner long enough to put a batch of gingerbread men in the oven instead. Not so much denial about what is going on around us, but more a time out to appreciate all that is good. And hopefully we all have some good. There is a softness to the season that prevails even as the commercialism and the in your face adverts try to sink you. There is one thing we all have in common, the one thing that lives in all of us, a spirit of hope, that never-ending hope that things can always get better, that love is alive, that life is worth living.
I don't think I've heard a more beautiful quote about Christmas than the one made famous by Agnes M. Pharo, which I have used many times before but it bears repeating;
"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." Agnes M. Pharo
Merry Christmas everyone :-)