Merry Christmas dear reader. It is Christmas morning and it is blowing and raining like the first day of Noah’s flood – crazy wild weather! We’ve had our coffee, opened the gifts we got for each other and now sit and wait for our kids and grandkids to arrive. The overwhelming majority of what is under the tree belongs to the grandkids; in fact 99.9% of it – as I think it should be. We bought my daughter a bed and gave my son money for a woodstove so really almost nothing under the tree for them, just a little something so they at least have something to open.
I had that moment of peace and joy that I always hope for and usually find at Christmas. It comes most generally on Christmas Eve when all is calm and quiet; shopping is done, wrapping is done, everything is over and yest it’s too soon to actually begin the celebration; sort of the calm before the chaos. Lights are off (except the Christmas lights), fire is burning warmly, and usually Christmas Story is playing on the TV, and the peaceful happiness just suddenly washes over me, enveloping me.
Now this morning, waiting for everyone to arrive and tear into the presents, is still quiet and peaceful, but it is different because the moment is near and the anxiety of hoping their gifts bring them the happiness we hope them to begins to rise inside. Christmas can be tormenting to many – it is decidedly so for my wife. She stresses over what she buys and then begins to apologize for the selection before you even open the present. She desperately wishes to give a gift that packs a big WOW factor – a gift that knocks the person’s socks off. I think we all do, but I think many of us realize that not every swing is a homerun; you can’t make every gift a dazzler. And that’s OK. Because getting a nice gift is wonderful; but getting any kind of gift at all is just as wonderful. The fact that someone took the time to shop, to look at options, to look around, to think of me and pick something they think I will like, is awesome! To me the thinking and browsing and shopping and selecting is more a gift than is the gift itself; the very act of picking out a present is a gift. What the gift itself is wans in comparison to the thought behind it. And I wish I could help her understand that.
I hope you were each able to find that moment of peace and joy somewhere in this holiday that has been so different than any I can ever recall. The pandemic, the riots, the election, the hatred, the intolerance, the divisiveness that has torn at our country this past year have taken us to the brink. But we’ve managed this far and we will continue to manage. And while chaos and disease do not work to a calendar, we all are hoping for a vastly different and better 2021. I have no crystal ball, but I have faith and confidence that it will be better; perhaps not at first, but it will be better.
Enjoy your holiday – Merry Christmas and stay well….