I know you all are busy finishing up Christmas plans and shopping. In the midst of all of this hecticness, may you remember what Christmas is really about.
The societies in which we live function in a way which often make us forget a little bit the true meaning of this season. It's about giving, not necessarily receiving, it's about loving, forgiving, sacrificing and not necessarily breaking the wallet for the most physically enjoyable things, food and comfort included.
If you have somewhere to go for Christmas dinner (whether it's your home or not), think of all the men, and women and children, both young and older, living under bridges, in mud huts, or literally on the streets.
If you've got somebody to spend Christmas with, consider yourself blessed. Think of all those who are lonely, in nursing and retirement homes, in military bases, in prisons and detention centers, in mental health hospitals; think of those who have no family despite their wealth and material comfort, those who have been rejected or abandoned, or those who have been forgotten.
If thoughts of those delicious meals especially prepared for you (or in expectance of you) bring happy thoughts to your mind, if Christmas shopping, gift wrapping and Christmas tree decorating was fun, think of those battling various diseases in hospital beds, some of whom cannot eat or enjoy food, cannot walk, and will probably be left reminiscing memories of more joyous Christmases.
If you have a computer and you can read this post, think of the many children for whom what we will spend/have spent on our decorations, or meals, or gifts on this season, could cover meals or a shelter for many many months.
Finally if the Christmas season brings happy memories and thoughts, a smile of your face and much to look forward to, remember those for whom Christmas is a torture. Maybe they have lost a spouse, a child or a mother or father at this time of the year? Maybe they have lost their home? Maybe they have been raped around Christmas time? Maybe they have had an abortion, or cheated on their partner or have taken somebody's life and are just being eaten out by guilt? Maybe they have a bed but cannot sleep? Maybe they have simply lost their job, their ability to provide for their family and their dignity by the same token and life has been a nightmare since then?
Say a brief prayer for all your fellow human beings, suffering or not, family or not, friend or enemy.
Before I wish you merry Christmas, let me share this inspiring little Christmas story with you (and 2 of my favorite Christmas carols). Read on...
"Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family's only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper.
As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.
Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, "This is for you, Daddy!"
As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.
But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. "Don't you know, young lady," he said harshly, "when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside the package!"
The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: "Daddy, it's not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full."
The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.
An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there.
In a very real sense, each of us has been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold."
Count your blessings and thank the Man upstairs. And for you all who believe in the sacrifice of the Holy Son of God, let us all remember His humble origins, born in a barn, held in a manger, in a faraway, foreign land, Him who was/is the only Son of the Creator of the universe, son of King and King Himself. No gold, no silver. Only stars, sheep and shepherds to witness the birth of the One who would change creation.
May your Christmas be filled with joy, laughter, and a true, deep feeling of peace and happiness.
"Carol of the Bells" - an upbeat version
My all time favorite (even though I don't like this version),
deep touching touching words; reminds me of my
semester performing this song with the
Malone University Women's Concert
Choir many years ago
"Lo, How a Rose e'er Blooming"
The inspiring story was taken from http://www.wanttoknow.info/goldwrappingpaper