Merry Christmas. What is so difficult about saying, merry Christmas? It used to be so automatic when you were out and about, a greeting, or maybe the last thing you heard when you were ready to leave a store or a friend’s house. Now, it isn’t heard as much, because of fear to offend. In all of my years, I recall how warm it felt to hear those words. There was anticipation, thankfulness, and maybe sometimes there was also stress when we tried to over plan each and every second of the busy time of year. So much to do, so much shopping to be completed, so few hours left before the big day: but then, the day after came, and it was such a release that many times we felt deflated, a little sad, hesitant to pack it all up.
It wasn’t the decorations, or the lights, or even the wonderful food that we overindulged in that we would miss. I realized that what we really would miss is the times spent with family and friends, who usually acted a little bit kinder in the Christmas season. Was it the giving? No, I believe that it was not how many presents you received or gave that mattered. Tell me if you can, one present that you got last Christmas. Without all of the build up of material things, all that we had left was the love that we had for each other, and the hopes that we could show how much we cared, with the few thoughtful gifts we did receive.
I remember when I was growing up, there was nothing artificial in our house. We actually did go out to the woods to chop down a pine tree. I remember the smell, and how we had to shake off the snow from the branches before we brought it inside. We did string popcorn, and make paper chains for the tree, and built a truck load of memories that I cherish. I remember, Daddy waking us up at 3 in the morning because he couldn’t wait for us to open presents. He always went back to sleep, but we had a hard time getting back to sleep. We all had an apple, orange, hard candies, and nuts, and maybe a chocolate snowman in our stocking.
My wish for you this season is to remember the joyful times, and draw from the memories that you cherish. Both of my parents are now gone, so this time of year can be bittersweet, until I catch a glimpse of certain traditions that I still practice, and know that even though they are gone, there is one place that they will never be erased, and that is from my heart. One of those most important traditions is greeting people we may meet with the precious words: Merry Christmas, and have a blessed new year.