Once upon a time, all I wanted for Christmas was a new car. I believed I would get it and boy did Santa deliver!!
Now years later, my wants are different, my needs more complex, but my belief is still strong.
I still believe in miracles, dreams come true and the power of gratitude.
I believe in forgiveness, compassion and turning the other cheek.
I believe in God, family and helping others.
I believe in kindness, gentleness and being humble.
This year, I don’t think Santa will bring me a new car, but that’s ok. I believe I am already the luckiest girl in the world…blessed beyond measure
I Dread Christmas
by Ginger Keller Gannaway
Like the cliched tangle of several strands of colored lights, I am a mess of knotted stress and on-and-off joy. For me, the Christmas smiles and laughs of surprise get swept away by the demands and deadlines of consumerism. First of all, why do we put so much money, effort, and worry into a holiday season? We spend hours spending dollars we cannot easily spare on presents most folks do not truly need or want. We drag out dusty decorations and spend more hours making our homes “merry and bright” for a few weeks of over-hyped, commercialized holiness. Why?
Perhaps when I was a kid or when my 20-something sons were kids, I enjoyed the getting and the giving. Back then we had Santa’s magic and loads of brand new playthings. Now I mainly see just the aftermath of the Christmas explosion: cookie crumbs, dirty napkins, discarded toys, and dead pine needles. And after the overdone turkey, off-key caroling, and cranky kids, all the cleaning and organizing and putting away looms large. Why?
I know. I know. “Jesus is the reason for the season.” But how do days and days of shopping and decorating and shopping and planning and shopping and cleaning and shopping and cooking and shopping and traveling and shopping and visiting and shopping add up to celebrating the birth of a savior who praised love over possessions?
Call me Scrooge or the Grinch or just a grumpy old lady. This is my truth. Christmas comes too soon and demands too much from our bank accounts and our time sheets. I enjoy holiday time with my family . I savor our delicious holiday meal. I enjoy the thrill of opening presents (and watching others do the same). I still get misty-eyed when singing Christmas carols. But I need to turn the whole thing down several notches. Today is December 14 and I have not bought my sons a single present. May I stick with my “single gift for each person” plan. My home has not a single decoration. May we simply trim the tree on December 24 and call it Christmas.
A picture of a Finnish proverb is taped above my desk:
“Happiness is a place between too little and too much.”
May this thought rule my life and especially my Christmas this year. A shorter and simpler holiday leaves me more time for true joy and peace.
We love Christmas time. Our house is decorated inside and out. There are so many ornaments on our Christmas tree that have special meaning. Wherever we go, we purchase an ornament from that location. A red lobster from Maine, bear paw from Yosemite, cable car from San Fransisco…you get the picture. But, there is one decoration on the tree that is above the rest, a Christmas corsage.
For as long as I can remember, my Daddy always loved to decorate for Christmas. When I became older he showed me a silk, red poinsettia corsage that lay on one of the Christmas tree branches. He told me that my mother was in the hospital her last Christmas and one of the nurses had brought her the corsage and laid it on her pillow, as a token of the season. She died that January and from that time on, my Dad would place that corsage on the tree in her memory.
As time passed, my brother and I divided Daddy’s ornaments between us, and I received the corsage. Every year as I place it on our tree, I whisper my mother’s’ name, inviting her to enjoy our tree and know that she is not forgotten.
A simple red corsage laid among the baubles and bells. A simple act of kindness that carried a mother’s love all these years later.