My greatest memory of any Christmas is from my childhood. I remember my mom watching us opening gifts, tearing away paper frantically with so much excitement and enthusiasm. I remember her face, an expression of joy and happiness that held only satisfaction and smiles, though making those moments possible for us had required of her tremendous sacrifice and discipline and love. As a single mom she did so much of what had to be done on her own but those details, she held inside for what made it all worth it was to see her children delight in the spirit of such moments. As we collectively but with no organization or form ravaged apart those layers of wrapping that concealed our hidden treasures, she only pointed to us where to go next. She knew, without having to look, which box or package belonged to whom and she just directed traffic, a conductor of sorts, a symphony of wonderful chaos.
In all of those Christmases there is something else that I remember, that I until now had no recognition of nor appreciation for but right now I totally understand. She always had to secretly wipe away a tear. Inconspicuously she would reach behind her glasses and sweep away the evidence of her determination and pride. The strongest cries are those that you have to hold in for the sake of someone else. As children we were oblivious to such and we would never have understood any mention of a “happy” cry or “tears of joy”, but this morning I do. The reason for the season is to observe and honor the spirit of giving. Some of us build this faith on a belief and trust in Christ, some of us on our remembrance per tradition, and others because of “presents” BUT whatever your reasons, in this moment, take full observation and solace in the joy of this day. Right now some child is smiling with no knowledge or clue of what had to happen to secure some game or shoe or toy or money… Some family, normally at odds, will compromise in this instance for the sake of what Christmas brings, or the plates that will be served today. Although not everyone will see their list fulfilled, there are homeless and abandoned members of our society that will be fed today, children that are not of privilege or sufficient means that will receive some trinket or toy by the hands of charity, donation, “secret Santa”, or from some individual(s) who seeks to do for someone else for the sake of bringing a smile to their face.
My mother has been gone a long time and never (in the flesh) got a chance to see me go through the things that she went through for us for my son, her only grandchild but I remember and I will teach him. As I wrapped a mound of gifts for my son, I felt tears start to build in me, recognizing a familiar feeling that I had known long ago. I conjured thoughts and feelings that acknowledged that I had finally began to recognize the “spirit” and “true meaning” of what Christmas is. I made a vow to myself to find ways to give this feeling to others through my service, support, and talent. It felt good. My son has yet to open his things but today, when he does, I have a feeling I think I will probably be getting a whole lot more out of what’s behind this wrapping than he will!
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!