As a kid growing up in the heartland of Mississippi, a white Christmas seldom, if ever, was something I looked forward to, but I did look forward to good ol’ Santa Claus. However, in a family of fourteen children, Santa left few toys under the tree, and almost never what I had “staked-out” in the Sears Roebuck Catalogue. But when Christmas morning arrived for me to look under the tree, what was there, dissolved any disappointment of my not getting what I had longed for in the catalogue. I was thrilled to get the few raisins in my box (no stockings), one apple, one orange, a couple pieces of candy and one toy—sometimes a doll, toy stove or something I could never have imagined. Whatever it was…I was overjoyed!
The sister a couple of years younger than I, would compete with me as to who would “gobble up” her goodies first. I recall eating one raisin at a time so that my goodies would last longer than hers. Soon she caught on, and began doing the same thing. She was tough to beat! However, the sister two years older that I would “finish off” her goodies long before the two of us. Thinking back, those days set the stage for my approach to life. Early in my teens, I realized that spending all of my money or consuming everything without “putting a coin away,” was not the way to go. That lesson caused me to progress from being very poor financially to upper middle-class status.
Money is not the key to life or a celebration of Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being able to purchase things for loved ones, grab a few myself, but the star of Bethlehem shines brighter in my heart when the true meaning of Christmas rings through. The sound of that “bell” brings enjoying Christmas carols, peaceful thinking, visiting loved ones and giving of myself. Joy is not only a desire for family and friends, but joy for the world—a world that seems to be drowning in war, crime, mass killings and corruption. But somehow… Christmas lightens that burden, heals the pain and instills faith in a new day.
Adorning a Christmas tree or filling my house with decorations, does not give me the satisfaction it once did, a greater sense of gratification has taken its place—one that yields a budding desire to love more deeply, practice more patience and embrace everyone in brotherhood and sisterhood—not just at Christmas, but throughout the year! It’s a time of contemplation, revelation and rejoicing! Tears of joy fall gently on my cheeks and my heart opens wider to embrace even those who seemingly, are lost in the hustle and bustle of the season.
Yes… Christmas is a special time of the year…don’t miss allowing its true meaning …to light up your heart!