Let’s start at the beginning…because all great stories do.
I’ve always enjoyed the “feeling” of Christmas. As a child, I relished the anticipation before unwrapping gifts, opening the door to family and friends, and gathering around the table to share a feast. There was always singing, drinking and dancing afterwards. The party would last till the wee hours of the day. As I got older, I grew to love decorating the tree, attending holiday concerts, and watching the young’uns open their gifts with delight.
6 days till Christmas and the streets are now lit with holiday lights, Christmas songs are playing 24/7 on the radio, and the classic Christmas movies are airing: It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.
Yet, there are elements to the season that make it seem cold. Is it because of the rampant commercialism, or my yearning for a simpler time imbued with a spirit that wasn’t poured into the eggnog? Is it because the media is putting too many demands of the type of gifts I should buy, or because that child-like excitement has worn off? Maybe it’s a combination of all these things.
I also have to add to the list the loss of my father, who was in the hospital this time last year. The doctors informed us his health was deteriorating and by January he passed away. This year is my first holiday season without him. I miss his presence—hearing his voice and telling us his stories. There is nothing worse than having so many good memories with someone and realize you won’t be able to make any more together.
To get back in the holiday spirit, one of my sisters invited the whole family (and we’re a large family) to watch a Christmas show at her church. I saw it through the eyes of a child. The lights and the decorations became anew. The carols sounded fresh in my ears. I watched the story of Jesus’ birth like it was the first time and it felt really good being in the presence of my loved ones. Being with my whole family gave me the shot of love I needed.
Whatever your notion of the season might be—a celebration of the birth of Jesus, the magic of old Kris Kringle, goodwill towards mankind, a time for family and loved ones, or a simple reflection of the meaning of the winter solstice, don’t forget to add the gifts of love, gratitude, kindness, inspiration and health for all those you know. Those truly are the gifts that we all need most. Do you agree?