When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago,
And etched on vacant places
Are half-forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know.
(Ella Wheeler Wilcox)
Looking around at the throng of pushing, shoving rude customers in the store with me, I was beginning to think I had lost my mind waiting so late in the holiday season to shop for those elusive gifts under the tree. There wasn’t an ounce of holiday cheer present anywhere. Where was the ghost of Christmas past? Christmas present it seemed had lost all decorum, running amok and out of control.
A woman rudely shoves past practically knocking me off my feet to get to the display I’m standing in front of. “Sorry,” I mumble in her direction as I absently rejoin the throng of mad frenzied shoppers. Her rudeness was deserving of much more than the questioning raised eyebrow that I gave, indicated as much. However, I was determined I wasn’t going to play a part in the hostility and chaotic mayhem present around this time of the year. Somehow my moral compass would stay firmly pointed toward the positive.
“I don’t know what the hell you want from me. Why should I know any more than you do what to get our grandkids? I don’t talk to them the way you do. Send money for all I care!”
I didn’t mean to catch that last bit of conversation. Not really. I had just absently looked toward the older man thinking, I would glimpse a bit of holiday cheer in his face. After seeing the saddened expression his remarks left. I wished I hadn’t. The woman those words were meant for was close to tears and I wondered once again – What is wrong with people?
“How can we afford all this? I’m losing my job at the end of the month!”
“It’s Christmas.” Was the only reply to what I thought wasn’t an unreasonable question. Christmas wouldn’t be enough of an explanation when the heat wasn’t paid on a cold winter’s night would it?
Stop watching people’s lips I scolded myself. Do you really want to be a party to their misery?
The worst was…I was there in the midst of it all. My own arms filled as I waited in line to make my purchases and my mind wandered over Christmases past. Each year had been a race of one up man ship in lieu of the year before. I recognized that old familiar desperate need to give my daughter as many gifts as I could afford, some years finding myself in dept for gifts she no longer played with mere months afterward.
Later that evening, I sat strangely detached and removed from feeling any goodwill cheer at all. My moral compass had been stomped on and grounded into the floor. When did I or anyone for that matter forget – what this season used to represent? When did we get so lost in the rush and havoc pace of buying and forget about those timely gifts of the heart.
“Send a gift – anything, what does it matter. It’s not us they want to see.”
Let me ask you dear gentle readers, what was on your Christmas list this year? What did you request? Was it love, peace, time with family? Serenity, compassion and self worth have fallen on the wayside in search of bigger, better, and more expensive pursuits haven’t they?
I didn’t like the answers I came up with either.
So this year I’m giving the biggest gift of all – to myself. I’m going to request from here on in, love me, cherish me, and spend the holiday in laughter and give of your self to me. Nothing more, nothing less – yet it far exceeds any purchased gift. It’s not about being stingy or lazy. It’s about wanting the best of what life can give me. It’s about experiencing the beauty of those wondrous human souls that share my life.
Slip a love letter in the tree branches, bring a dish to share, but most of all bring a smile and the gift of time. Promise, you will be richer for it.
Take this wondrous time of the year, leave the malls behind, the pushing and shoving and rude behavior – gather around friends and family from afar and simply enjoy the biggest gifts of all, those of the heart. So what’s on your list this year? Let’s make those rarely requested gifts that don’t cost a penny – the next best thing on everyone’s Christmas list. - Indigo