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Friday, December 10, 2010

Finding the Magic in Christmas

Let's face it. Things have been rough over the last several years. The economy is still horrific. Unemployment is rampant. You yourself might be out of a job or worried sick about losing one. Home values have sunk lower than 2 rats in a sewer pipe. Millions have lost their homes to foreclosure while others can't sell at a decent price. We're still at war in the Middle East. We can't even fly on a plane without first enduring humiliating gropings at the airport by security agents. And have you bought groceries lately?  Thirty dollars for ingredients to make a single batch of holiday sweets. Life is indeed rather messy and complicated.

Now it's Christmas time and we're supposed to be all hyped up, starry eyed and excited. Cheerful and joy filled and glowing and singing and making merry. However, given the world's gloomy circumstances, this year it's not all that easy for people to be merry and bright. Even if we're not feeling the holiday spirit, how can we embrace the magic of the season in a simple, unadorned, unpretentious, perhaps even childlike manner?

For myself, I find the magic in people around my neighborhood and in my community. I volunteer. I've prepared meals for folks in need. I visit an elderly gentleman who is all alone. I sit and chat with him and mostly listen to his stories. I bring him food and home-made holiday sweets. In him, I see the magic of Christmas. Although he's lonely and not well...he radiates hope, positivity and even humor. I never hear him complain. He inspires me to be a kinder, gentler, more understanding person.

I provide gifts to underprivileged children. Watching their little faces beam in anticipation as they grab each package and tear it truly priceless.

The other night, I looked up at the stark, cold but brilliantly clear sky and was amazed at how resplendent the stars appeared. I gazed at them for several minutes hoping to see a shooting star. No such luck. Yet I could see the constellations gloriously twinkling in the if a trillion diamonds had been tossed into the celestial firmament. I was humbled and impressed at the same time.

It's late afternoon and a gentle snow is falling. A winter wonderland outside our door. A friend of mine described watching the snow from her window to "sitting in the middle of a snow globe".  What an apt description. A blanket of white that hides the ugliness of the world...if only for a little while.

We live in a neighborhood of mostly boomer age kids. Last week, one of the neighbors had their grandkids over and playing outdoors. The youngsters constructed a trio of hilarious snowmen. They outfitted the snow people with silly hats and scarves, sunglasses and twigs for arms. One snowman was leaning sideways at a 45 degree slant as if the wind had blown him nearly over. I laugh every time I drive by.

At midnight, in the woods at the back of our yard, I can see the deer resting in the snow. The glow of the moon illuminates them as bright as they lie in the deep, white snowy mounds. Around them, scurry rabbits hunting for food or shelter in the stillness of the night. I can plainly see the rabbit trails they make, even though it is night time. High up in the trees I observe huge, dark blobs. It's the wild turkeys sleeping in the tall branches to avoid predators. What a fascinating world it is outside our wintry windows.

Snug and warm indoors, I light candles and turn on the tree lights and play soft Christmas music. Our adult children, spouses and grandsons are visiting this year. Cozy on the sofa with hubby, surrounded by loved ones and telling Christmas stories to our wide-eyed little grand boys as they listen in innocent, rapt the best magic of all.
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KeLLy aNN said...

You completely hit it bang on.
That's what I try to teach my children.

Coffeypot said...

"Now it's Christmas time and we're supposed to be all hyped up, starry eyed and excited."
I haven't been that way at Christmas in years. My grandkids keep it alive for me. Without them, I would just sleep late and go to the Waffle House. But I do love you for your help with the old man. He is the lucky one. All I can lay claim to is milsupport. I sent a Christmas tree to a Marine unit last week. I send goody boxes each month to a few peeps in harms way. That's about it. That and my dog transports. Bah Humbug!

Susan Anderson said...

I totally agree. It's all about the people and the relationships...especially the grandkids!


Jackie said...

"Sitting inside a snowglobe" is such a unique and beautiful way to describe the winter scene!
in blessing the elderly man,I'm sure your heart will feel full! Bless you! Have a great weekend!

ReformingGeek said...

Great post!

Yes, it's hard to feel the Christmas spirit sometimes, although shouldn't we feel this spirit throughout the year?

Thank you for visiting with the older gentleman. I'm sure your visits mean a lot to him! said...

That is very sweet, BP. You LIVE the Christmas spirit.
Happy holidays!

Unknown said...

You just painted a starry, excited, alive Christmas with your post. Nicely done.

diney said...

You are right - Christmas is a time to be extra kind to others, especially the elderly and the sick. It still holds so much magic, even though the belief in Santa Claus is no more with my 11 year old, and the excitement building up for her is magic in itself! Still got 2 carol services to go (she sings in the choir) so even more atmosphere ahead.

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