Keep Christmas Well
It’s Christmas Eve. And if you’re lucky, you are gathering with your family and friends to celebrate the Joy and Love that Christmas brings.
Not everyone is that lucky, though. Many are spending Christmas alone. Some are homeless and some are sick.
And then there are those like me who have raised a family. My two beautiful sons have made their way in the world and I’m proud of them both, But for the first time in my life, neither will be with me this Christmas Eve. I will be spending Christmas Eve alone.
At first, the thought ate at me; it gnawed at my soul. It hurt. But then I remembered that I have a choice. I can choose to count the blessings I don’t have. But if I do that, then I’ve doomed myself to forgetting the blessings I do have.
And I do have many. And, I bet, you do too.
When I was young, I used to visit my grandparents on Christmas Eve – but only for an hour or so and then I was off with my friends. I never thought about them sitting there alone after I had gone. I used to spend Christmas morning with my parents, open gifts, and hurry off to spend the rest of the day with my friends.
Young people are often not the most thoughtful, I guess. At least I wasn’t.
When I was young the thought of me being a parent, heaven forbid a grandparent, was as foreign to me as setting foot on the planet Mars.
It’s funny how life goes in circles, isn’t it?
Here I sit on Christmas Eve, alone, watching Christmas movies that once I watched while surrounded by family and friends.
Friends drift away and death whittled away at my family as it does to all families – and so here I sit with a glass of wine and a head full of memories – Christmas movies on a TV that no one is watching.
I moped around all day yesterday, trying to think how I was going to face my first Christmas Eve alone. But then I got a call from one of my sons. His plane had just arrived and he was calling me to check in and to tell me his plans. Today, Christmas Eve, he will be spending the afternoon and evening serving hot meals to the homeless. And tomorrow, Christmas Day, he will be doing the same. He and his troupe hope to serve hot food and good cheer to over 5000 homeless people and their families.
How lucky I am to have a son like that!
And my other son, he’s off visiting with his wife’s family today, but tomorrow, Christmas, he and his will be with me. We’ll be opening gifts and sharing Christmas Dinner together. We’ll exchange gifts tomorrow, but do you want to u know what the best gift he gives me is? Every Thursday, he takes me out to lunch. No, he doesn’t feel sorry for the “old man”, he does it because he enjoys an hour of uninterrupted conversation with me – and I with him.
I am lucky, aren’t I?
And because of the way things worked out this year, next Friday, I have something else to look forward to. Both of my sons, their wives, and my grandkids will be coming to visit me. We’re going to share some good food, good times, good gifts and making some great memories. What better Christmas present could anyone have than that?
Sure, I’m sitting here alone today, watching Christmas movies, looking out the window and gray dreary Christmas Eve day. But I’m not feeling sorry for myself anymore. No. I choose to count the blessings and gifts I do have, rather than ponder what I don’t have.
Christmas is a special time. It’s a time for counting our blessings, for remembering those who are less fortunate than us. It’s a time for sharing and caring. It’s a time to forgive and a time to forget. It’s a time for giving. It’s a time for doing the all the things Jesus taught us to do.
No matter what your situation is this Christmas, I will bet that you have more blessings and gifts to count than you’ll ever know. I hope you will take the time to count your blessings – each one is a gift.
I hope your Christmas is filled with family, friends, good times, and good cheer.
As Charles Dickens wrote in “A Christmas Carol”:
Narrator of Scrooge:“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!’’
Tiny Tim: “God bless Us, Every One!”
May we all keep Christmas well.