I have to say that I’ve really tried to get back to the real meaning of Christmas, this year and to not expect too much in terms of having the house be perfect or extravagant gifts for everyone. Much of the stress of Christmas is caused by wanting everything to run like clockwork and all to be perfection….and, as we know, it never is. Therefore, we’re forever set-up for disappointment.
Tonight, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and ask a simple favor. Simply enjoy those you are with. Have the old folks tell you some stories about when they grew up, ask your significant other to share a Christmas memory that they haven’t told you before and have a child tell you their favorite part of Christmas and, most importantly, share some of yourself with them. After all, Christmas is the season of giving.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. Simply put, this celebration is about love and sharing love. That’s it. As plain and basic as that. God gave His only Son so that we could be redeemed, because he loved us. In that same vein, the greatest gift that we can give others is our love. I know that many people are not self-proclaimed “religious”, but we all love our family and friends. Regardless of your religious affiliation, you don’t have to go to church to observe the real meaning of Christmas.
I identified with a very poignant article in this Sunday’s Mobile Press-Register about the first Christmas and the imperfectness of that “perfect” birth. It got me thinking about Christmas and the season and today it has me reflecting on Mary and what her experience must have been like. Considering that she would have been about 15, I can’t imagine the immense burden and pressure she must have felt all those years ago.
In 1994, I was fortunate to take the trip of a lifetime with all of Mr. D’s brothers and sisters and his parents to Israel. We visited Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity. We went down to the grotto where Christ is believed to have been born. It was a profoundly spiritual event and with a three year old at the time, I had extreme empathy for Mary and her situation. Although her situation was anything but perfect, she perservered and went on to do her duty for her son and to her God. In her honor, here are some Christmas songs to pay homage to the Virgin Mary:
Mary’s Boy Child, Tom Jones
Mary, Did You Know, Mark Lowry
O Holy Night, Martina McBride
Silent Night (in the Irish), Enya
Ave Maria, Bobby McFerrin
Away in a Manger, Celtic Woman
Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Jewel
Merry Christmas. For those of you visiting with family, I hope that you thoroughly enjoy each others’ company and make beautiful new memories. For those of you who are, like me, separated from your extended family this Christmas, I’ll keep you in my prayers.
Epilogue: You know, God really has a sense of irony and humor. Before I could finish up this post and get it out there, I had a major kitchen crisis. At 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, my kitchen sink backed up. Of course, I had been cooking a ham and potato salad for tonight and the kitchen sink was full of dishes. It took every fiber of my being to remain calm and remember that this Christmas wouldn’t be perfect, but I didn’t need to let this little speed bump ruin the evening and our Christmas.
We called Roto-Rooter and they sent a very nice young man out who fixed our problem, rendering us functional again. Because of our sudden emergency, we modified our plans a bit. Earlier in the day, I came across the old videos of our kids when they, and we, were ALOT younger. So, for this Christmas Eve, we’re settling in, in front of a nice warm fire to watch our memories. Maybe God knows what he’s doing, after all.