O Holy Night
Merry Christmas to All
It’s finally here. A mere days away. That most magical day of the year that parents plan for, children yearn for and families and friends and gather for. The countdown has started and is in single digits for Christmas Day! I love the planning, the organizing, the decorating, the surprises, the cookies, the gifting, the eating, ALL of it.
In the midst of all of this glory and gifting, my mind and my heart are in a much different place this holiday. Maybe it is because I have three teenage children and much of the ‘magic’ is not so magical like when they were children. Maybe it is because of all of the loss that has happened in our family this year - three Uncles, brothers to my mom and my dads, the loss of friendships, the void from the loss of my nephew a year and a half ago that lingers. I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly that has impacted my mindfulness, my awareness of the true spirit of the holiday and why it resonates so strongly with me this year. But it is there. And maybe by sharing, maybe that mindfulness will resonate with one other person, remind them of what the holiday is truly about. Consider it my gift to you.
I know it’s hard to wrap your mind around that but really, much of Christmas is about simplicity. Don’t get me wrong - I love the over the top decorations, the myriad of presents and all of the flash and color and pizzazz of Christmas. But the simplicity of celebrating a birth, a child, a figure of faith and resiliency the world over - that is magnificent. In many ways it is a singular event, a day, a celebration that strips away ethnicity, economics, profession, demographics - and brings us all together.
Simplicity in my world
Last Friday, we had a Pitch Perfect marathon. Watched both 1 and 2, ate tacos, had some guacamole, some wine, some Titos, some Trulys (all of which I felt the next morning) and lots of laughs. I had over our closest friends, my children were all home and a young woman whom is not only a cherished friend but also a member of our family. And it was a night where memories were made. Dinner cost me less than $20 to feed all 10 of us. But our bellies were full, we had doggies at our feet, the house was warm and the drinks were cold. Simple by anyone’s standards. And one of the best nights I’ve had in months. Keep it simple.
This is so important to me and I think it’s the message that resonates with many this season, certainly with me. Christmas is about being grateful for our haves. Gratitude for our health. Our families. A roof over our heads and tacos on the table. We get so wrapped up in keeping up with the Jonses that we forget about having gratitude for what we have ourselves. When you live a life of gratitude, of being aware of what is really of value in your life - all that excess and ‘must-have’s’ that all falls away and becomes unimportant. It costs us nothing, it requires no effort other than awareness.
Gratitude in my world
I was fortunate enough to take part in something on Monday that overwhelmed me with gratitude. Our gym community is amazing and the owners, let’s just say that they set the bar for all of us. I helped them deliver gifts to the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester that our members had donated. It took a Jeep, an SUV and a truck to deliver all the gifts to the Boys and Girls Club and as we were walking them in, I had to choke back my tears. Those gifts will be given to 100 children. 100 little lives, ages 7-12, will be impacted by a simple gift, a token from a stranger that they will never meet. And I was so full of gratitude for being witness to the generosity of others and to witness the gratitude of the staff at the Boys and Girls Club. Be grateful for your haves.
I think that if you appreciate the simplicity of the season, what the meaning of Christmas truly is and have gratitude for the intangibles in your life than feeling joy is the byproduct of those two. Let’s face it - there is a lot going on this time of year and it is easy to get stressed out, overworked, underpaid, making a list, checking it twice, parties, cooking, relatives - you get the idea. Where in all of that is the joy? The joy is in the delight of a child setting cookies out for Santa. Joy is found in a Christmas card from a friend that you treasure. Joy resonates in the beauty of the words in Christmas carols. Feel the joy in a hand that holds yours, a hug from your child, the warmth of an animal that loves you unconditionally, in the chaos of friends and family gathering together to celebrate. Simple. Inspired by gratitude.
Joy in my world
I mentioned above that I am so mindful this season, so aware of my haves. And I am beyond grateful for that. I have my three beautiful children home with me, all of them changing and growing and coming in to their own. There is an ever changing pile of dirty clothes on OUR bathroom floor, my refrigerator needs a rotating door and I caught my 17 year old son wearing my socks this morning as he couldn’t find a pair of his own. And he’s a size 13 foot. There’s dog hair covering everything, I have gifts still to wrap and the lights on our Christmas tree are dripping like melted wax.
And my heart is filled with joy. Because we are all home together and I am appreciating being able to ‘do’ for them because there will come a time when they won’t need me. And I am beyond grateful for the simplicity of being able to ‘mom’ my children with my Rob at my side, my doggies at my feet and good friends to share tacos, Titos and memories.
Wishing you and yours a holiday filled with simple pleasures, grateful hearts and the joy that comes from being with those that matter most! Merry Christmas and God Bless!
And To All A Good Night