It is the day before Christmas Day, which would make it Christmas Eve, I suppose. I have not endured one ounce of stress during this holiday season. So many changes have taken place in our celebrations for Christmas over the past 2 or 3 years. Of course, this year, I have my sister the thank for most of the stress-free Christmas day. She has invited us to her home for a lovely meal, and just good family fellowship, being able to visit with my nieces, whom I don't get to see nearly as much as I would enjoy.
We used to buy, and buy, and buy some more for this eventful day. Until one point my sister and I said to each other... "why are we doing this to ourselves"? Is this what Christmas is all about? Spending all this hard-earned money on gifts that we "hope" someone else will appreciate and enjoy?
A few years ago, back in 2005 on December 19th, I had finished my 37th radiation treatment. I was completely exhausted, and I remember calling my sister and asking her if it would be ok if we just did a "grab-bag" gift pile with each person attending the event bringing a $5 gift, wrapped, and ready to put under the tree. This turned out to be a lot of fun. You didn't know who you were buying for, and it seemed to take some of the pressure off, worrying about "so-and-so" liking what they got. I mean, it was only $5. And you would be surprised as to the creativity of our family in what they could come up with for $5. So, we did this for a few years. Then we decided, really, do we need to do this at all? We're all old now, and don't need the added expense of buying anything at all. If you have ever considered doing something like this, be prepared for the long-reaching effects this will have on your perspective of Christmas.
The very first year, we only exchanged cards among the family members. (Bought gifts for Daddy, cuz, well that's just the way it is. Sorry, can't let the day go by without gifts for the man who played Santa for us all our lives. Anyhow, Daddy always gives us very generous gifts, written on pieces of paper, that go to the bank, and make us all very giddy with excitement as to how we should "enjoy" it. So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.) My husband and I did not exchange gifts either... and let me just tell you, that first year was "culture shock". But, again, if you attempt this at home, it kind of grows on you. It makes you wonder why on earth we make ourselves completely nutsy-in-the-head shopping until we want to reach out and throttle some little old lady, counting out her change in line in front of us... and about 30 other people in line behind us? Is this what Christmas is really all about? Getting the good deal, the best price, the biggest gift, the better gift than "so-and-so" gave someone? Seriously?
So... here's to another peaceful Christmas! I excitedly look forward to being with my husband, Dad, my sister and my brother-in-law and my two nieces, and their significant others. I know it will be a relaxed, most enjoyable time. A time of remembering those who are no longer with us... a time of missing those who cannot be with us (due to other obligations and can't be there)... and a time of making new memories... and hearing the sweet sounds of everyones laughter. I love to hear everyone in my family laugh. It is the sweetest, most pleasant sound. It makes me wonder what it must have been like for Mary to hear the very first giggle out of her son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe it is a sound she remembered all her life long.
Merry Christmas... and blessings beyond your comprehension. May the real reason YOU celebrate this day bring you joy and peace.