I just talked to my sister and two nieces on FaceTime. Antonia, the almost 4 year old, stuck her face in front of the camera and exclaimed with a giant smile, “It’s Christmas!!” I couldn’t help but laugh because she’s so cute and so excited. It led my sister and I to discuss what Christmas means to young children, to us as families, and generally to the world.
I know not everyone celebrates Christmas and I like to focus on the universal similarities and connections between the various holidays this time of year. So I’ll just say a couple things about what this entire season means to me. We are in the midst of the darkest time of year, and here in New England, it’s cold. It often seems harder to feel the light, warmth, and energy that we feel other times of the year. Yet every memory I have about Christmas from my childhood has something to do with the light. The lights on the tree that would make the living room warm with its glow, which I would sneak out of my room to look at in the middle of the night. The candles in the windows, which were my favorite decoration of all, and which spread light both on the inside of the house, and sent it out to be visible from the road outside too. I also remember lighting candles in the living room just before bedtime on Christmas Eve, and feeling completely surrounded by soft light and love while my mom played the violin and my sister, two brothers, and I would sing together. To this day I think about the warmth, the connection, and the light as the spirit of the holiday season. It’s about love, and it’s about slowing down to reflect back on the year, on the history, which influences us deeply. It’s about sharing our love and filling our lives with people who make us feel loved in return. It’s about having light in our lives, about strengthening the light that we have, and creating sparks of light when there are none.
As I stood facing the beautiful NP tribe at the bottom of section 37 this morning, even though it was dark around us, all I saw was light. Radiant, warm, loving light that shines when we come together–no matter the day or weather–and we do something like run the stadium stairs. It lifts me up. Every freaking day we do this makes me feel like a 4 year old on Christmas Eve. It’s exciting. The anticipation of waking up to wonder and surprise and having an incredible family who loves you, feels amazing. I can hardly sleep sometimes because it’s so exciting. The November Project tribe is the family of choice for many, and lots of us also bring our moms, brothers, sisters, dads, “fattest worst uncles,” cousins, kids, and more to join the tribe. We have so much light, love, positivity, motivation, and free fitness to share, it is the greatest gift we may ever receive. And we can continue to give it day after day, week after week, year after year.