Getting older means reflection. Memories. Eventually you pass that half way point, where you have less life (on average, obviously any of us could die at any time) in front of you than behind you; and you inevitably wonder how useful, purposeful or important of it was. Not just that, but you analyze why you are who you are now, based on your fragmented memory (and in my case, as hazy a frosted window) of the life now long past.
So this is how Christmas will be from now on. Not forever mind you. Little by little, year after year. Things are taken away. The pattern we grow up with, of what Christmas is and means; the joys and excitement, the traditions, gets replaced.
If you ever ever ever hear the phrase "The heart wants what the hearts wants", I need you to punch that person squarely in the face and fart in their mouth. There is no greater lie and selfish excuse than to envoke the wantss of one's heart (which merely means fleeting, euphoric "emotions") over what really matters — what the heart truly needs.
You have to make an effort to be happy, to find joy, in the midst of hardships; otherwise a darkness begins to envelop you, swallow you whole; and you find yourself quickly lost on a road you never intended to go down.
There's something simple and appealing in uttering the words "I forgive you" — how it gives me that self-righteous pride in my own ability to absolve someone else's sin. Forgiveness isn't a concept but rather a transformation of the heart and mind (one that is far often more difficult than I realize).
Families are built through generations and generations, but a family can be destroyed in a single day. By a single act, that turns into an avalanche and buries everyone. The truth is not always what you see or hear or get, but somewhere hidden between, and when broken people hide themselves from their own truth those cracks find a way out.
Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in a casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket -- safe, dark, motionless, airless -- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.