At this time of year we are all met with the problem of what gift to buy someone. Usually there is at least one person who is a real chore. My issue is my husband--impossible to buy for! One big reason for this is, as we have grown older, we just don't need more stuff.
How many of one particular item do we really require to exist? How much more jewelry do I need? Even I have to admit that I have enough jewelry! I have even come to the point of recycling my jewelry to others. It pains me to have jewelry sitting in a box when I know a pair of earrings I haven't worn in years would be very appreciated by someone else. Why am I hording those earrings when they would cause a happy smile to flash across someone else's face?
This Christmas season I seem to be on a sentimental bend. I have been focused on Christmases of the past rather than what I want for Christmas. I've been thinking about my parents, my cousin, other family members and how we used to spend Christmas. The company I keep is far more important to me than a gift I might receive. A a gift is a token, a symbol of our affection for another. When we present someone with a box, it represents our love for this person. It is our gift of love. Except we really can't wrap love up inside a box.
Love is an expression, an emotion, a feeling, a gesture. Love cannot be purchased. Love belongs to us and is meant to be shared. We don't give our love away, really, because we still have love remaining. Love is shared with someone we care about. That tangible item in a box is not real love because it can dissolve, rust, tarnish, burn or be stolen. Love is indestructible.
Rather than "things", I appreciate companionship, the company of others, because some whom I love are no longer here. Life is short. As they say, we are not promised tomorrow. But we have today, a day in which we can share our love. This particular Christmas, for some unexplained reason, I really miss my parents and some special relatives. I would love to hug my mother, hug my father. I would love to talk with my Uncle Frank, and comb my grandmother's hair. I miss my family because they are now mostly gone. I would delight in having the opportunity again to share love with them. We just can't take those special moments for granted.
During this Christmas season, please share the gift of love with others. That gesture costs nothing, but is worth more than any jewelry or kitchen appliance ever could. Your time is priceless. Make the most of those special moments together.
The other night I attended a Christmas Spectacular at the First United Methodist Church. It was absolutely wonderful, really putting me into the Christmas Spirit. The music, the voices, all were superb and did their job in preparing us for Christmas. I have discovered that attending such a musical production really places me in the mood to celebrate Christmas.
When I was a little girl, Christmas meant toys. LOTS of toys! As an adult, it usually meant jewelry. Hey, I like jewelry... However, toys and jewelry aren't really the reason for the season. The season is love. We are reminded during this time of year of the love of a father and a mother, and the love that would come to the earth due to the birth of a child. And not just any child, although all children are precious, but the birth of one who would show us how to love each other, as well as ourselves.
This season is about the love we share with our spouses, significant others, children, parents, relatives, extended family, and certainly love for our friends. It's also the time of year where it is perfectly acceptable to love a total stranger, and to give that stranger a monetary gift. It's the time of year where we have the opportunity to give to a charity, like that one with a person clanging a bell in front of Wal-Mart or Publix.
This is also the season for hope. Some hope for a better year to come, and possibly will attain their dream due to the love someone has shown them. Love is key throughout the entire season. I love the fact that LOVE is all around us, if we just look. I guess we could have a negative focus instead, but why would we want to choose that perspective when we can select love? So many opportunities avail themselves for us to show our love for another and, hopefully, LOTS of others!
I choose to place my vision on that which is positive and filled with the light of love. This year I am even watching the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies! I figure if I keep being associated with love, if I keep filling my spare time with love, then love will be all I feel. Sure beats the opposite!
During this Season of Love, maybe we can put aside those grudges once held toward certain family members. Perhaps we can open a new chapter of understanding and compassion. Hey, why not? If Jesus can forgive us, surely we can forgive a foolish mistake made by another. Please share the Season of Love.
Have you decorated your house yet? Or are you still looking at all the boxes stacked up waiting for you to have time to trim the tree? Worse yet, are you still waiting for someone to bring down all the Christmas decorations from the attic? Well, it's that time of year...
We have so many jobs to do, not to mention the purchasing of gifts for everyone from the newspaper carrier to your boss at work. The cookie baking, pie baking, Christmas cards to address, after you write the annual holiday letter. Sheesh! Who has the time? If you are a woman, the load grows heavier with each passing day. It seems like everyone wants a piece of you. I can only imagine my pastor's wife and how she must feel. Besides all the additional duties she must accomplish at the church, what about her personal life situation? There is always someone with a more crushing load than us, isn't there?
I love to give advice. Actually, at one time I wanted to be the next Dear Abby! Yet I don't have a decent bit of wisdom to share regarding how to sail through the holidays with peace and sanity. Learning to say no might help when your child's teacher asks you to bake cookies. But then you'd feel like a jerk for saying no. So you'd do it, adding an additional four dozen cookies to what you had already planned to bake. Hey, what's four dozen more? Sure, you can always address all those Christmas cards later after the kids go to bed, and after you wash the kitchen floor with all the cookie flour spread around like snow. Oh, but first, put in a load of laundry. No big deal...
Women deserve a rowdy, loud round of applause, with a few whoops and hollers. What they must accomplish is mind boggling. Talk about multitasking! Women do it best! I'm not complaining, not me. I don't have all of those duties many women have to do. I can sail through the holiday with peace and sanity. But I recognize and appreciate that others really do have a more crushing load than I. So I will deliver my own whoops, hollers and applause to those women. And I'll pray for their sanity. And peaceful heart. I'll also pray that some sweet person will recognize the stress and fix her a cup of hot chocolate as she attends to the decorating, card addressing, gift wrapping, cookie baking...
But ladies, really, please try to eek out a few minutes to enjoy the season. Find time, somehow, to sit quietly viewing your newly decorated tree and the stack of addressed envelopes; smelling the delightful scents emanating from the kitchen; and sipping the hot cocoa as you reminisce about Christmases gone by. YOU deserve some peace and blissful whimsy. Yes, you! Now, quit reading and go enjoy yourself!
As a little girl, I vividly remember seeing Santa fly through the sky as I was heading to bed. I saw him in the corner of the window above the front door, reindeer, sleigh and all, zooming among the stars. I really did see something; it's still clear in my mind...
My mother always took me to see Santa at Woodward and Lothrops Department Store in Washington, D.C. Yes, that is me sitting on Santa's knee. I have no idea how old I was.
Do you remember being so anxious for Santa to arrive? Lying in bed, listening for the sounds of his arrival... I was always fearful he would leave if I didn't remain quiet, so I snuggled down into the covers, daring not move. What I didn't know was that my parents had stayed up late to decorate the tree so when I experienced Christmas morning, the entire house had been transformed from its normal appearance into a child's dream of Santa having visited. When I was a little older, they told me they were helping Santa out by decorating for him ahead of his arrival. I guess they'd had enough of the late hours hanging balls, throwing tinsel and stringing lights!
We always left out a dish of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa. I was quick in the morning to inspect the evidence that Santa had been there. "Nope, no cookies left! Santa was here!" I have pictures of those early Christmases at our home on Taney Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia. I remember the memories fondly, what bits and pieces I still remember. Especially Santa flying in the sky... with his reindeer... and sleigh.
For children, Christmas is all about Santa Clause; at least in most families. It's considered harmless fun that focuses on the joy of Christmas. What's more joyous than receiving presents, right? Certainly for children, that is very true. As adults we know the reason for the season is the birth of Christ. As children grow old enough to understand, they will come to appreciate the birth of the baby Jesus, too. I understand that not everyone recognizes Christmas as a time to celebrate the birth of our savior. But Christians do make that acknowledgement. Jesus is the reason for the season! Since becoming a Christian in 2017, I have come to appreciate more fully the reason for the season. I used to dance around, carefully using certain words, rather than offend anyone by saying, "Merry Christmas!" I would always say, "Happy Holidays!" That day has passed, that ship has sailed. I now am eager to say, "Merry Christmas" to one and all. Actually, it is quite freeing to say it.
I read an article recently, written by a Jewish man, who was commenting on the phrase Merry Christmas and how some people are afraid to offend others. Interestingly, he wrote that he didn't find it offensive at all, quite the contrary. He welcomed the phrase and often responded by using the same phrase. He found Merry Christmas to be a happy, joyous greeting. Where was the harm? There was none. And there is none. We have a right to greet people with cheer and joy. If it bothers someone that I am cheerful and joyous, whose problem is that? It certainly isn't mine!
"T'is the season to be jolly; fa la la la la, la la la la." Please be jolly! Please be happy! Be generous! Be kind to everyone you meet! And wish them a very Merry Christmas!!
(c) 2018, Elizabeth Owens