Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Reflections 2008

Many of the things that I wanted to finish before Christmas are still undone. Still, that's not new. I will do some last minute shopping this afternoon, and that's it.

To me, Christmas is a time to reflect and feel grateful for the blessings I have been given. By contrast, New Year is much more action focused because of my cursed habit (I cannot help myself) of preparing to do lists!

From my perspective, there have been many blessings this year, despite sometimes problems.

I have my family, always a key. There is food in the fridge. There was the friendship I was given during the year, including my old and new friends in the blogging world.

I also made at least some progress in terms of the objectives I set myself earlier in the year and especially in writing.

My first weekly column appears in this morning's Armidale Express. I haven't tried this before, so don't know how it will go. I have plenty to write about, but there is a real difference between writing for print publication and the blogging style.

Oddly, blogging is more anonymous than print. Blogging reaches a far larger audience than print. However, outside our small immediate blogging community, visitors are very dispersed and drawn by particular searches.

By contrast, writing in the way that I do through a personal print column means exposing my views and foibles to a local audience many of whom know me, or at least know the name. I find this oddly uncomfortable.

With a blog, you can edit or even delete articles. They may still exist in cache form, but generally they are gone. With print, they are frozen for ever, or at least as long as that edition of the paper survives in some archive.

While Christmas is a joy for many, it can also be a very lonely time for some. It can also be hard to maintain joy if you are worried about money or even getting food on the table. This has in fact become more difficult as Christmas has become more of a secular celebration.

I love the mythology surrounding Christmas. However, the focus on Santa, presents and celebration also sometimes focuses more attention on what we don't have rather, than those things that we do.

So while I count my own blessings, I also try to think of those that are less fortunate, including those who are grieving for lost ones. Here my attention was captured by a post from Tikno in memory of his brother, one of the most moving tributes that I have read.

Tikno's brother died twelve months ago. He did not have a lot, but what he did have he shared with his family.

May you and yours have a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

5 comments:

Neil said...

Best wishes to you and yours, Jim.

I checked out the Armidale paper. You don't seem to be in the online version. ;) Only country papers would feature Year 10 formals! :)

Reminds me of another really old paper I used to read, "The Kiama Indpendent". An old uncle, Ken, who was on the Western Front in WWI used to tell a story on that. There they were having a quiet day, for a change, in the trenches. He saw a newspaper blowing around in no man's land, so went and collected it. It was a copy of "The Kiama Indpendent"! Ken came from Shellharbour, just up the road from Kiama. He was quite amazed...

Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you Neil. I had you a little in mind when I wrote this post.

The on-line part of the Express is very limited. I think that this is a missed opportunity. Maybe this will change. I know that the editor wants to increase interactivity.

And you are right about the formal. But is the SMH any different? Try the Sydney gossip sections some time.

I loved your story on the Kiama paper!

niar said...

merry christmas Jim,
may happiness always follow you and your family

tikno said...

Thank you.
Merry Christmas to you and family, also to Neil and Niar.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you Niar and Tikno.