The Winding Path

Counselling Services provided by Barb Zacharias

December 2020: Hope, Peace, Love, Joy

Posted on Dec 24, 2020

December 2020: Hope, Peace, Love, Joy

It has arrived: Christmas Eve. For some, tonight and tomorrow will be Christmas as usual with their immediate families living under one roof. For others, it will be a very strange Christmas not to be surrounded by the usual chaos nor anticipating its arrival.

At the start of the Advent season (the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day), I experienced a deep sadness. Some of you will have read what I posted on The Winding Path Facebook page. To give some context, it was prompted by events and postings that minimized the impact of the pandemic, trivializing the pain and suffering of others. And a blatant misuse of privileges perceived as rights to be brandished about with total disregard for others or even “the greater good.” The following two paragraphs are what I posted the last Sunday of November.

My heart aches today. As an empath who thinks and feels deeply, I find I need an outlet for my sadness. I would use my grief to facilitate change. However, therein is much of my sadness: feeling powerless to effect positive change. A blog entry is likely a better venue, but for now, suffice to say the state of inhumanity breaks my heart. Humanity’s inability to overcome pride and privilege. The total lack of kindness, compassion, collaboration, consideration, empathy, sense of greater good. Making other people the enemy rather than the virus. My heart breaks that animals treat their weakest members with more care and concern than humans do. Animals care about their own kind without turning on each other. They are incapable of humankind’s atrocities. I have yet to see evidence of human’s superiority over the animal kingdom. I much prefer the company of animals. Guess I am less evolved than the rest of the world’s occupants. I am okay with that. For now I will do something that feeds my spirit. Maybe decorating the Christmas Tree on the First Sunday of Advent is what I need. 🎄

Oh the irony. Just looked up the 4 themes of advent: Hope, Peace, Love, Joy. Today’s theme is Hope which I am dearly lacking today. Hope for what? That humankind will get its collective head out of its arse?? I must find something else to hope for that is within my grasp. I am far too cynical for any religious implications, humanity proving to be what it is. To hope for a better life for myself (read: security and stability — what every trauma survivor craves) sounds selfish. But it is true. I do hope for that. I also hope I continue to add rather than detract from instilling hope in others. I do believe in the healing journey. So here is my hope: that you and those you care about keep on keeping on. That in whatever small measure, you cling to the hope of travelling further along your personal journey to find hope and healing. And whatever we do, may we cause as little harm as possible to others along the way. Which will be tricky for me as I tend to step on toes standing up for those without a voice.

A month later, and I am not as hope-less as I was that day. I have seen evidence of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy: in my life and in the lives of others. I have also minimized exposure to the inhumanity that makes my spirit cringe. I think it has helped having Christmas Spirit increase over the past four weeks—especially my efforts in that department. I decorated my tree—always a pleasure as my ornaments all have stories to tell and memories attached. And I fulfilled my intention to listen to every Christmas CD I own. I am now on round two of that one. I also baked and iced some of my favourite cookies, sharing as opportunity arose.

Even if fewer people surround me, I have not abandoned what makes this time of year special to me: decorations, music, food, being out in the snow (either walking dogs or x-country skiing). The wonders of technology also make virtual gatherings possible. This will be a new one for my family as we are rather used to living far apart, but gathering (either some or all of us) at Christmas fairly regularly. I have mixed feelings about gathering this year (virtual or otherwise); but that is not the focus of this blog. Not that I know what the focus is!

I am aware that I have received many gifts this year, especially because I am a traumatized introvert who doesn’t need the company of others very often. I sympathize with the extroverts who have felt abandoned and lost. It has been a very trying year learning new ways of being in this world. One thing became clear to me: the Universe does have my back. I remain clothed, sheltered, fed, warm, ambulatory, without loss of sight or sound. And loved. It may not always be shown in ways that I see, desire, or even crave. But I can say without a doubt that I am loved. That in itself is a miracle. The gift of Love. The essence of our very Beings.

May 2021 be welcomed in with more awareness of Love. Particularly our ability to give, not just receive (or feel the lack thereof), the Essence of our Beings. Love is not meant to be hoarded, but to flow freely among all Creation. May we bestow more Love in the coming year. May it be a year of healing for the entire planet.


  1. Merry Christmas Barb. Thank you for sharing, it’s been quite the year out there. And I too have found, it’s been amazing for going within to find some peace and being grateful for the little things we don’t often think of in normal circumstances. May all these small loving gestures ripple out.

  2. Great blog, Merry Christmas and all the best in 2021

  3. A blessed New Year to you, friend. So glad that hope emerged as she always does – never something we can demand or always feel – but rather like a breath of angels’ wings. Someday soon perhaps I can visit your house-in-progress that is already a home. Always love reading and pondering your blogs.

  4. Love this! Hope your holidays went well. I can relate to your feelings on most of this post. I am hoping too that more love is shown, going to do my part (big hugs).

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