When most of us think of the holiday season, we expect to spend time with family, share gifts, or eat our favorite holiday foods. The season is supposed to be a time of cheer, but that is not the case for everyone.
Changes in family dynamics, in employment, in living situations, and more can affect our holiday spirits. Some of us are missing loved ones, and we only have the memories from past holiday celebrations with them. Others may be unable to give their families the Christmas they wish they could. Traditions and holiday expectations can be a source of sadness, anxiety, or doubt. But I believe that hope can rise even in the worst of days.
What is hope? Hope is the opposite of worry. Hope is the place for you to lay your uncertainties, doubts, and anxieties about the future. Hope is a beacon of light when the world feels dark. Hope is knowing that even the worst days will end, and the sun will continue to rise.
I see hope in the flowers that bloom every spring and summer after a cold and dark winter. Let’s consider the iris, known as the flower of hope. We plant iris bulbs under an inch or so of soil in the fall of the year. The winter is cold and long, but then the irises bloom again, making them an undeniable symbol of hope.
As we come into the holiday season and face the uncertainties of what the holidays will bring or lack, consider the irises. They bloom again despite being buried in soil and despite the long winter. They sprout out of the ground and face the sun only to bless us with their beauty for another season. They grow where they are planted and use their circumstances to add value and beauty to the world around them. Like the irises, we are an important part of the world around us. Cling to the promise that tomorrow can be better than today. Be expectant and excited about the future even if today it feels completely impossible. Allow yourself to prosper regardless of your circumstances. As we come into the holiday season and things look bleak to you or someone you know, remember to consider the irises, the flower of hope.
Brittany Holyfield contributed this article as part of her internship with Joanna Radford. Brittany is currently a senior at North Carolina A&T University, majoring in Agricultural Education. She is interning with NC Cooperative Extension in Surry County to help fulfill her degree requirements and learn more about NC Cooperative Extension.