I cherish the opportunity Christmas brings for me to build relationships and meet more people.
The month of December can be a great month. The gradual incline towards the festive season is one that brings a great deal of excitement to many, the approaching holiday, maybe a trip away, a few big parties and sometimes lots of drinking. I’ve noticed people who usually don’t say anything or only give a passing glance, say “hello”. I’ve also noticed people who quite often just give me a nod when passing in the corridor but surprise me with a question like “what have you got planned for Christmas?” Come January, I see we often retreat and withdraw back into the ‘grind full existence’ – so what has happened?
For those interactions where we exchanged an extra smile, nod or extended ourselves to make a passing comment or brief exchange before the break, I now have a point or marker that I feel allows me to continue with the relationship.
For me it’s wonderful to hold that point when the post holiday emotional retreat comes, and the so-called mundaneness of life kicks back in. So my gift is now the nurturing of the initial hello or pre-Christmas smile. It is a pre-Christmas effort toward me returning. I can continue from where the relationship reached and for that I’m very grateful.
I was once waiting for the high of Christmas and wanting to escape and splurge on anything that took me further away from myself. The development of my Livingness by re-connecting to myself and thereby allowing deeper connections with others that I have found through Universal Medicine has provided me with the tools to tackle life with joy and a fulfilment that is overflowing.
So yes, I love Christmas, but now for a very different reason — the opportunity to build relationships with everyone I meet.
By Matthew Brown, Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia
What a lovely way to view Christmas. Thank you Mathew.
Thank you Matthew for this wonderful insight into Christmas. I would agree Christmas is a time for people, relationships and connections and I love how you are speaking of maintaining or developing relationships after Christmas. There is a change where people are realising getting ‘things’ at Christmas is nothing compared to ‘being’ with people.
I love this blog! I can totally relate to the feeling of a post-Christmas lull, returning back to old ways. It is crazy how we are nice, polite, and caring to fellow members of humanity in the run up to ONE DAY of the year – and the difference is noticeable. What would the state of our society be if we were this caring with one another EVERY DAY of the year?
Now that’s a society I would love to live in – here’s to committing to my part in making that a reality.
Thank you, Matthew. I was travelling by train out of London on Christmas Eve, and enjoyed observing everyone being more chatty with strangers, telling them where they were going and what they were doing. For all the hype and excess, I agree that Christmas is also an opportunity to connect and open up to each other more.
Yes it is extraordinary how we open up around these times. A national festival seems to give us a national connection and suddenly we find it easier to chat with strangers and share ourselves. As Jess says below, what would our society be like if we found this common point of connection and care every day of the year, and not just in one.
What a beautiful way to truly embody the message of Christmas, to engender peace and goodwill to all mankind? And so true, all those people who usually hurry past and don’t engage suddenly have a point of connection, a question to ask and if we choose, we can open up to that connection and deepen it in the days after the partying and merriment and nurture new found friendships through the rest of the year. I too have found that since deepening my connection with myself, Christmas is no longer about cards, presents, booze and escaping, its about being with people and simply celebrating one another’s company, with nourishing foods and plenty of joy and taking that forward into every day of the year.
I love this as a way to look at what happens after all the tinsel has been packed away.
Like you – I have observed how everyone has spent December ‘coming out of their shell” a little more.
They are happy to greet you, look at you, have a few quick words when normally you would not get even the slightest acknowledgement.
So our December interactions are absolutely perfect to nurture in the new year, when all at once people have become too busy for a small passing gesture.
How amazing would it be to break the post Christmas ‘slump’ with a little more love and communication.
Mathew i loved reading your blog, I was so caught up in Christmas and would always get hit hard by the low that followed the hype I created. Looking back over the past few weeks its so true that people say “hello” more and come out of hiding. I enjoy the time to stop and reflect and now also can see it as the start of an amazing opportunity to keep building relationships with everyone.
Hi Matthew, I agree with you. One of the things the ‘festive season’ does bring is the opportunity to interact with more people and build relationships, we would not normally give time to. It is great that you see this and carry it on in the months to come as well, instead as you say dropping this opportunity and possibility and going back to withdrawing from others which we can easily do.
I agree Vicky – this way of looking at christmas is so amazing, not focusing on gifts, the festivity and the food and drink, but instead on people, and building relationships.
Matthew I love the way you have described Christmas. I totally get it and love Christmas for how it bings people closer together.
I love all you say Mathew and I am really appreciating Christmas time more than ever with the opportunities for connection with people and joy shared in this. A smile and reaching out and the shared occasions with others is magical and not to be missed in the frenzy that also happens at this time of year. Thank you for sharing these observations with real love and understanding.
What a great way to look at and approach the Christmas season Matthew. Not holding any grudges against anyone if they decide to withdraw after coming out but holding them to what you saw before when they came out and saying “Hey I’ve seen you and I will continue to engage with you” (I know these are not your words, just the sense of what I get from what I’ve read). Having made your life about people is why you are able to approach Christmas in this way Matthew. Thank you.
I have been one to withdraw from life. Christmas always felt like too much. I understand now that i withdrew from life, because it was overwhelming. Serge Benhayon has helped me understand that withdrawing from life does not protect me from life. I need to express the real me. I have begun to connect with people, on a one to one basis, honoring my sensitivities. I keep Christmas simple and just focus on staying myself in all situations. It has allowed me to feel more connected to other people, which feels great!
I can’t say I have ever looked at Christmas from that angle before but it makes sense and now looking back at my experiences over the past weeks I can see that people were more willing to talk with people when the subject of plans and excitements that this time of year brings. It shows me that we are capable of engaging and talking with others when we want to, when we feel there is a common ground. And now I am reminded that we always have a ‘common ground’ and that is that we are all human beings throughout the year. Why wait until it gets to Christmas to become closer?
Lovely reminder Leigh, “we always have a ‘common ground’ and that is that we are all human beings throughout the year”. Why wait until it gets to Christmas to become closer.
‘We are capable of engaging and talking with others when we want to, when we feel there is a common ground. And now I am reminded that we always have a ‘common ground’ and that is that we are all human beings throughout the year’ – Amazing Leigh; and that’s something we could all really do with looking at… Why is it we wait until a certain event or time of year to bring the family/friends together and actually connect, why not do that throughout the entire year? As you said there is absolutely no instance where there is lack of common ground.
I too love this aspect of Christmas when people emerge from their cocoons and open up. I love how you take this as an opportunity to build on this connection. I’m inspired thank you.
A lovely simple message. I always love the openness that people seem to embrace around Christmas. Strangers I pass in the street will say ‘Merry Christmas’ when usually they would not say a word. Christmas represents a time of love and joy, and it is wonderful to witness people aspiring to that even for a short while.
Dear Matthew, thank you for you beautiful blog. Lovely to read how you make use of the opportunity to deepen your relationships with others. Like you write:
‘ I can continue from where the relationship reached and for that I’m very grateful.’
You build on what was established and keep that quality of connection also after Christmas. My feeling is we would have a different world if we would all do that. I feel inspired by what you wrote and will keep deepening my relationships with others (doesn’t matter if I know them or not) and allow myself to love people (because I do, I deeply love people) and let that feeling out.
Great point Monika, it doesn’t matter if you know people or not, we can still reach out and connect with who ever we meet on our daily path, for the bigger picture is we all belong and are part of the human family by the very fact we are walking here on earth.
I love your angle on the Christmas theme, Matthew. I have also in the past been one of the ones to get my head down and hide during this period because the craziness just seemed too much! Despite the indulgence this seasons offers it does bring an opportunity for opening up and a coming together. In my case I see family members that I may not get to visit at other times of the year and I have a deeper appreciation for this from your blog.
I love what you are sharing Matthew, thank you. Life is about people, not only around christmas, but every single day of the year. I can make that choice to connect, to say hello, how are you today, to give a smile, to give a hand or to ask how life is going for them. We can wait for others, but why not reach out first? Connecting with people is not something only for the December month, but all the months of the year.
Hi Mariette, I loved what you have written in your comment it made me stop and what came to mind was: Love is not just for Christmas its for Life.
Thank you for sharing Matthew – what a lovely way to view Christmas and make it all about people.
Matthew I love your perspective on the Christmas season. How lovely to make it all about people instead of getting caught up in all of the usual stress and hype that appears to be the ‘norm’ for many at this time of year. I’ve noticed too how more open some people are to chatting and this is a great opportunity like you say, to build relationships.
Thank you Matthew, I have also felt that Christmas is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with people, to allow people to be more open, and to take it from there, a new marker, it happens a lot, and it is great.
This is beautiful Matthew, so simple and great to read about a completely different way of being at Christmas, and as jacqmcfadden commented makes Christmas about people, ‘yes, I love Christmas, but now for a very different reason — the opportunity to build relationships with everyone I meet.’
Away from all the hype and stress many people realise Christmas is a time for relationships with families and friends. I love talking to new people all year and it is amazing how much more open everyone is at Christmas. I like how you see this as an opportunity post Christmas to hold and continue with these relationships rather than pull back and accept the game of withdrawal. Thank you, Matthew.
I agree Matthew, perhaps this is the true meaning of Christmas good will? – building relationships with all people we meet and then sustaining this level of connection for the rest of the year.
Andrew I love what you share ‘perhaps the true meaning of Christmas is good will? – build relationships with people we meet and sustain this level of connection with the rest of the world.’ Definitely feels a way forward, as when Christmas passes many become so gloom and doom and lose that connection. They say, just after Christmas the depression level increases, why is this? People loose the connection possibly?
I agree Amita, many seem to lose that connection after Christmas. In fact, I feel that many of us often don’t have the connection to ourselves in the first place, we get caught up in the hype and rah rah of Christmas and when it is all over there is nothing to “look forward” to …. (i.e. as soon as Christmas is over it’s often about joining the gym, healthy eating, booking the next holiday, starting a new hobby etc?) Even more reason to spread the joy and smiles around and ditch the doom and gloom………..!
I agree Andrew, building relationships with all people we meet and then sustaining this level of connection for the rest of the year – an opportunity for us all to celebrate every day. Inspirational article for us all, thanks Matthew.
This is superb Matthew and I’m going to take a leaf out of your book and take something positive out of the madness of Christmas and make an effort to connect with more people instead of being one of the ones too caught up in their own stuff.
What a great present to the people around all of us. Sharing with others is not just for Christmas.
Great article Mathew and a great approcah to Christmas as well. A great opportunity to reconnect with people.
Matthew, I love your article and the way you write it. I love how you describe how the time around Christmas can take us more away from ourselves, but also can bring us closer together and into a deeper connection to ourselves with one another.
This is a beautiful account of all the possibilities this time of the year present for us to connect with people. My family joke about my having a ‘have a chat gene’, as they call it, but I am never happier that when I am meeting up with people and enjoying their company. Life’s about people as far as I’m concerned and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Like you, I have found it definitely adds an extra serving of joy to the day whenever a moment of true connection with others occurs.
There are many people who are withdrawn, keep their distance from others and feel alone, (especially at Christmas time) and just don’t know how to reach out to others. Many times just a simple hello or smile, or a small comment like; ‘have a lovely Christmas holiday’, can make all the difference; ‘and for a brief moment they can be pulled up and out of the ramble of the day and offered another way’. I love how you make Christmas about People Matthew.
Yes it is a beautiful focus, I too have really felt this year that Christmas is about people and have let go of the craziness. Rather than sending cards I called people, which is a huge shift for me. And you are correct Jacq when you say that the smallest of comments can make such a big difference to people who don’t usually engage because of not knowing how to start a conversation.
That is a great way of connecting with people that are not close by. Thank you Rowena for sharing – I usually call family members, especially at celebration times as we are so far apart (in physical distance) however there is nothing in the way of connecting with others as well and hear each others voices and feel each others smiles.
Rowena, I love the tip you have shared about calling people instead of sending cards! I am inspired to connect and you have blown my lid on ‘how’ to do that! It can be emails, letters, phone-calls or in person!
This is a great article Matthew and I can totally relate here, and what a great opportunity this time of the year is, connecting and sharing with others, before and after Christmas.
Yeah like everyone has shared, amongst the madness and stress is actually a lot of people reaching out to connect. I also see christmas as adults’ ways of trying to recreate magic in their lives, it shows me that many people know magic exists but have just stopped looking for it in simple places like nature and children’s laughter and make it about tinsel and elves etc instead.
Too true Vanessa. Adults try very hard to keep the magic of Christmas alive for so long for children with the belief that there is a man that flies on a sleigh to deliver gifts. To me, this proves that they feel magic on some level, even if it was many years ago and in their memories of childhood when they also felt the true magic of soulful connection, but have only forgotten.
Exactly Amina: great point that it is “before and after Christmas” – it seems like the focus is usually just on before and during!
So true Matthew this is what I have been finding at work too. Everyone has been talking about Christmas and what they are doing, who they are visiting, what they will eat, it has brought so many people together with a common interest. I never really liked or understood the craziness of Christmas, and was one of those that hid waiting for it to be over, but this year I enjoyed the connection with everyone that I met. Working in a supermarket I get to see the build up and how people begin to open up, and the conversation is around their families and friends. There is an underlying thread that everyone knows that December, and especially Christmas is a time for families, when everyone gets together and enjoys the festive season.
Matthew I really like the refreshing way you have looked at Christmas, as an opportunity to connect with others from your own initiative, rather than sitting back and waiting for others to do so. It’s a great lesson of brotherhood in action. Thanks…brother.
Yes thank you Rod for your lovely words. I must say I don’t really look forward to Christmas but you have inspired me to look at it in a different way and I shall certainly see it now as an opportunity for initiating and building relationships, rather than “sitting back and waiting for others to do so” …. in fact, why wait for Christmas, I’ll just start now, thank-you.
What a delightful slant on the superficial Christmas chatter that can happen in passing. Thank you for that.
I loved how you considered the behaviour of the various people around you with such love and understanding. And very inspiring that you show how every opportunity can be maximised to build loving relationships with people.
Well said Golnaz, ‘I loved how you considered the behaviour of the various people around you with such love and understanding. And very inspiring that you show how every opportunity can be maximised to build loving relationships with people.’ I too felt inspired by Matthews understanding that held no judgment of the people around him, only love.
Matthew I love the way you have taken the opportunity to build on those relationships that were opened by the other’s pre-Christmas comment or smile.
Definitely Rosanna, beautiful way to extend the ‘Christmas feeling’ for others in all other days of the year. Great blog Matthew.
I loved reading your Christmas blog Matthew, thank you. It is so true that Christmas creates opportunities to connect with others in a way we hadn’t perhaps done before. And once Christmas passes we don’t have to pack away those connections we have just made along with the tree and tinsel and wait until next year to create those moments again. We can choose to nurture them all year. Beautiful!
That’s what I loved about this blog too. Whenever there is an opening to engage with someone no matter at what time of year it’s great to be able to use it as a springboard to develop the relationship further. After all what is life about, other than to build relationships? I absolutely love meeting and getting to know new people.
Absolutely Michelle, this is it and it’s a shame that we would wait till Christmas to be more open and engaging as in truth we can live this way anytime of the year. I have great fun sparking up conversations on the bus or train and as I go for a walk.
Yes Jane, in a cycle, so that by the time that the next Christmas comes around, our starting point will be more extended and deeper connections, and more, and a deeper willingness/ability to connect with those who open up at that time, and so on for every year thereafter.
I agree Jane, it is often put back to one side when the new year, work and life kicks back in, and yet it doesn’t have to be that way, and the enjoyment of people talking and being festive shouldn’t have to be secluded to christmas.
Hi Matthew, thank you for bringing such a lovely way at looking at Christmas. How beautiful to respond to this openness in others and taking it into the year, rather than just leaving this restricted to the month of December.
Definitely Esther, such a lovely opportunity, ‘the opportunity to build relationships with everyone I meet.’ How wonderful.
“For those that gave me the extra smile, nod or extended themselves to make a passing comment or brief exchange before the break, I now have a point or marker that I feel allows me to continue with the relationship.” – I have found this too Matthew, people seem more open at this time of year.
I agree Natalie I too find people are more open this time of year.
I agree with you too Natalie and Amita…people do seem more open this time of year. But what I find sad, is when you see people being all jolly and merry leading up to Christmas. then once the holiday season is over they seem to go straight back into their rut. Why be jolly and merry only around Christmas time?
Yes that does seem to be the case, people do seem more open around Christmas, why is this? Is it because we have something to look forward to, or do we have an expectation around an event that it will momentarily lighten up our lives? I agree Jodie, why can’t it be like this all year around. It’s pretty constant nowadays, as soon as one “event” has passed there’s another one round the corner, it’s as if peoples lives are not fulfilling or complete enough without something “exciting” to focus on. I have learned, through the presentations of Universal Medicine, that if I choose to re-connect to my own love on the inside, I wouldn’t need the rah rah of the world to make my life complete.
Yes, it’s true. Perhaps there is also an expectation that the Christmas break will bring a much needed change. I have noticed that people desperately look forward to time off at Christmas – a break from the momentums and pressures of daily life. But, do we actually use this time to truly rejuvenate, rest, nurture and re-assess ourselves and the way we are living?
Or, is this time used to indulge, ‘break free’ and provide ourselves with relief and distraction from the exhaustion that may be there…. only to return to work to do it all again…?
Perhaps it is time to look at how we use our precious time off, and how we are living every day that leads to the shut down and exhaustion, where we don’t feel inclined to connect and enjoy being with ourselves or others. Perhaps Christmas does offer us this gift – time to come back to ourselves and make more loving choices.
“Or, is this time used to indulge, ‘break free’ and provide ourselves with relief and distraction from the exhaustion that may be there…. only to return to work to do it all again…?”, you make a very valid point here Kylie. How many times do we hear colleagues say that they could do with another day off when they return to work from a holiday, or the week-end, however much time they have off it never seems to be enough. Great point when you say that perhaps it is time to take stock of HOW we spend our time off and how we live our lives on a daily basis, and not living our lives looking forward to the next holiday or festive occasion to break the monotony.
Love what you are offering here Kylie and I would say that if this time was used in way of reflecting on the year just gone and how we have lived, the choices being made and a focus on what we would like to work on improving, as well as appreciating all that we have worked with then it feels like there would be a vast decline in the post Christmas, post New Year’s Eve end of holidays, return to work blues that many experience.
Great point Jody. Christmas is associated with joy and it often feels like this is the time that people give themselves permission to bring this element into their lives. How amazing would it feel to make this connection every other day of the year.
It seems that there are certain times of the year when we let down our guard and let other people in and December/Christmas time is definitely one of those. I look forward to the day when we are all more like this (including myself) on a more regular basis. Matthew’s post I find very encouraging re the possibilities that are ahead.
Thank you Matthew for a refreshing new way to observe the holiday season.
I love this Matthew such a wonderful way to turn around the usual rah rah of christmas – holding everyone to account for the openness they naturally are – Effectively saying – You are like this so I will meet you at this point – a gentle pull up from a beautiful loving man – thank you for being so inspiring.
Oh so inspiring.
Christmas, births, marriages and deaths are all such a great opportunity to open up more deeply to family, which I have found can be very healing.
Agreed Abby, these events are a great marker as to the type of openness we can have, however why is it that it’s often only when there is a crisis or major event of some kind (be it traumatic or celebration) that we open up to healing when we can have this connection anytime of the year…
Lovely words Jane. Deep down we do love people – it makes me giggle (and scratch my head) when we go on about how annoyed we are by people when the reality is we love them. And we love connecting – Christmas shows that – it is just when it is so LOADED of expectations, unexpressed emotions and hurts – that it becomes cumbersome. When we keep it simple, and look at what we are bringing to the plate, it’s pretty awesome.