Christmas is less than a week away. The phone isn’t ringing as often and email has slowed too, as clients, friends, and business associates prepare for Christmas. I attended my last holiday party on Sunday and we’re now finalizing our preparations to spend time with our kids and grandchildren. It promises to be a wonderfully noisy time filled with plenty of hugs, laughter, stories, gifts, and too much food.
Christmas is a special time to me. I love the lights, the carols, and the smells of cookies and pies baking. The smells flood me with memories of the times when my kids were much younger and couldn’t wait to open gifts of toys. I still have a few gifts to purchase to round out what everyone’s getting and will summon the patience to enter the fray of one last trip to the mall. Even with that impending trip, I’m happy and joyful.
I want to give gifts that each person enjoys and realizes I thought of them when I purchased it. I realize they want the same for Sheri and me when they ask us what we want. I don’t really need anything, although I wouldn’t argue with a pair of purple socks, or one of the books on my wish list on Amazon. The things I really want can’t be purchased online, wrapped in paper, and placed under a Christmas tree covered in lights.
The gifts that are most important to me are the gifts of presence; time spent with each son, daughter in law, grandchild, and Sheri’s kids. It’s a meal around a kitchen table that is spiced with conversation, laughter, and the stories we share of what we’re learning. It’s hearing and sharing hopes, dreams, and even things that we’re facing that may be difficult. It’s reading a story or playing a silly game with one of the grandkids and getting with friends who are as much family as our blended family and sharing life’s journey.
I’m reminded, though, that the holidays are difficult for some. I know people who are waiting on a doctor’s word of whether their treatment was successful, someone who’s lost a loved one recently, or have been through a difficult time. The gifts I want to share are;
- Courage for those who are afraid based on their current circumstances
- Faith for those who have none and are unsure what their next step is
- Hope for those who can’t see past their present pain
- Love for those who are alone and yearn to be held
- Laughter for those whose spirit needs to be lifted
- Persistence for those who are tired but need to take another step
- Vision for those who have a dream but don’t know how to get there
- Belief for those who’ve about given up
- Gratitude for those who are in a great place and life is good
- Peace for those who feel stressed
- Generosity for those who can share some of their blessings with others
Whether you are in a happy or difficult place, these are the gifts I’d like to give each of you this Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate. I believe these are the true gifts of Christmas. May you find them in your life as we celebrate our lives, love, and shared journeys this holiday season.