“You Turns and Climbing the Christmas Hill” by William Klein

Classroom doors decorated with tinsel and Christmas chintz, secret Santas bring gifts of socks and simple delights like booze and cookies to tickle the heart to new heights while Christmas lights adorn classrooms and blowup Frostys gleefully wave in the season.

Teachers agree it’s that time in the semester where we can see the top of the hill from a long hard climb. We have struggled to gain understanding of our students, create that lesson that will help them see the world in a new way and gently guide them forward.

The students are punchy as midterms happen next week, stress levels are high, and students, administrators and faculty alike are right there as we get the last grades in and close up shop for the season. Holidays are upon us, and we can taste a well-deserved break.

The break is merely a breath. It’s time to think ahead to next semester and planning. We don’t pause. Mothers and fathers attend to the season of their children and the stresses that come with kids being home from school and making up for lost time.

Sometimes we’re climbing our own hills in life and need Christmas to remind us that there’s more here than meets the eye.

We are grieving lost ones and spending first Christmas’s with a new normal. We are struggling to understand and examining regrets. We are held in the throes of uncertainty and contemplating deeper thoughts of where we are going in life. We are all journeying with the Unknown.

This time forces us to think deeper about where we have been and where we are going. Somewhere in between we seek to understand the new light in a season of Advent. No matter the profession there is a breath of life. It’s the season where we feel the coming of the end of the year and holidays to celebrate life.

We can choose to ignore the holidays and keep moving with things to keep us busy, or we can take in the moments of simplicity and channel that to our blessed innocence.

Escapism this time of year is not only welcomed, it’s needed. We need to escape into the wonder that we learned as children. Obligations like shopping become just that – a means to an end. Sharing the moment with a sibling or child, though, and taking a u-turn or “Y-O-U Turn” to mix it up may be the very shot of cheer that is badly needed.

Maybe doing something you haven’t done is the right medicine for holiday blues.  Maybe seeing the world from a new perspective this season will trip your consciousness into new understanding. Maybe delving into a holiday movie you haven’t seen before or a story to freshen the perspective.

Scrooge is a special character for me. Every year I cherish Dickens’ nudge to escape into Victorian England and watch a bitter old objectivist transform into a childlike philanthropic positivist and giver of hope.

I’ve trained a keen eye looking for the epiphany in every scene. His winsome life being transformed before our eyes; the magic of time in a treasured moment evaporated in denial of his feelings and moving forward with precision focus on business.

I’ve learned that it’s not his fault. Dickens understood all too well that we all fall into the trap of denial. We all lose sight of simplicity and wonder. But Christmas forces our hand. This season calls us to open heartedness and digging deeper to see the bullseye bingo moments of understanding.

I’m not going to pretend I may find it, but if I direct my attention to it, it should manifest. Sometimes when we’re climbing the hill, we just want to get to the top and be done with it.

We lose our sense of knowing the treats of nature that make the climb worthwhile. It occurs to me that maybe the top is not the place where the true view we need exists. It is on the journey, on the path where we are right now. Maybe a “Y-O-U turn” on the climb is needed to see the deeper reality of the season – a trigger of hope.

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