Good morning and Merry Christmas. For me, Christmas began last night. Christmas Eve has always been the beginning of the season for me...but more so last evening.
I began my evening at a candlelight service at the Salvation Army. It was a night filled with emotion. As we took the audio trip back in time to Bethlehem and sang the songs that are so befitting the coming of Christ...I was overtaken with emotion. The major presented a most amazing take on the story. Fear and joy. How we can have both of these emotions at the same time in so many facets of our life. How true that is on so many levels. For me, life has made so many twists and turns. So much had happened in the past 60 years of my life. I contemplated the Christmas' of past. I thought about all the preparations and all the traditions. I thought of how much I tried to keep it all up. I contemplated what they meant to me and to others. Then, last night...I just wondered where it all went? I thought about all those who were involved in those days of long ago. I thought about the countless nights of lost sleep and pure exhaustion. I thought about how many times I have washed and cleaned, shopped and wrapped, prepared and cooked meals. I made sure that no one was left out. No corner had been forgotten. I made the cookies and the fudges, decorated the tree, the outdoors and just about every room of the house. I wrote Christmas cards and made gifts....and until last night...I never realized how I had not stopped to truly take in the reason for it all. Yes, I can say that I did it for all those that are precious to me...family and friends...but somehow... in that quant chapel, I understood why. It was the same reason that Christ came to us. It was all out of love.
Today, as I no longer have family near to celebrate with...I remember that even my Savior is no longer present in human form, but has never left me. What a gift I received. In fact, I reopen that gift continuously.
Last night, my eldest granddaughter became engaged. As I looked upon both her and her fiancés faces I received yet another gift. Their smiles portrayed love. Love is the reason for the season. Love for all mankind. I was given yet a second gift last night. I played a large part in her life and to see her happy and filled with love and standing next to the man who loves her unconditionally was amazing...to say the least. As I looked at the picture of them...I saw myself. I remembered what it was like. I remember the fear and the joy. The fear of what the future holds and the joy of being in the moment. I remember the gift of Christmas...the gift of that baby. That package in swaddling clothes that was filled with love. I never really thought this hard about how much the actual picture scene tells us. It wasn't just a baby...but a family. A struggle....yes struggle. Imagine Mary and Joseph and the situation they were in. Mary with child...not of Joseph....a man wanting to find the child...to end His life...and no where for them all to stay. Travelling that was long and hard. The kindness of an innkeeper. Let us all remember that the scene was of a FAMILY, it was filled with kindness and love. May you open that gift today. Merry Christmas from my house to yours.