12/21/2014

Wishing Little Christmas Dreams Come True


 Christmas means many things to many people.  I think, as I have aged, it has changed meanings to me. The one constant meaning has been the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the birth of a baby that was to meant to teach the world about God.  I really wonder if, without the Gospel, some of us would have been able to really “get it.” I know, for me, I wouldn't have.  The other books of the Bible just don’t hold my interest in quite the same way. 

Christmas as a child is so different than as an adult.  The lights of the tree, the wonder of Santa and how he gets all those gifts all over the world is just magical.  It is like the belief that a knight can actually fight dragons. It is somewhat sad to find out he really doesn't exist. At the time you realize Santa is your parents is the time you are somewhat aware your parents really aren't your heroes at all, just a mom and a dad.  Dad doesn't have super powers and Mom’s cookies are not always as good as Hostess products or Little Debbie's. 


Then, as a teenager, Christmas highlight is no school, Christmas break.  And then comes the real fun of Christmas, gift exchanges with friends, hanging out at the Mall just to be seen with cool guys, popular girls and in new clothes.  And the gifts you want are so much more expensive.  No one forgets the lectures with “you want what” and “you are so much more spoiled than I was when I was your age.”  In your head, you are saying “yeah right” and hoping your face doesn't convey it.

Well, when adulthood comes, it is with the reality that Christmas, when you have children is once again about the children. Seeing the joy of a child’s face brings it all back, full circle.  As a grandmother, I see this once more.  And again, I am reminded not only of my children’s faces but once more of my own face all those years ago.  


I see much more though now at Christmas time as I have aged. I see the faces on TV, the faces on the news and faces of children on the
world that embrace Christmas.  It hits harder than it ever did before.  I pray for those children that get and have so little and ask for nothing.  Those that pray for a life, for parents, for safety, for a home and for water is heart-wrenching when so many have a material list a mile long. I believe, as children, they deserve that for Christmas.  I also believe, those being denied other things they want in their heart should have their wishes granted too.

Yes, these are not material things but neither was the girl’s wish on The Miracle on 34th Street but everyone that watched it over and over stayed glued to the story line. We all had a sixth sense her Christmas wish was basic, a child’s need for happiness. 

Many people come from broken homes in this world. Many have lost family along the way.  My husband has lost his son and his mother.  One Christmas we spent alone in Nashville with no family here and he
sat beside me Christmas Eve while I got a chemo infusion. We came home to an empty house. The next day, Christmas I was sick in bed and he was alone in our home for Christmas with nothing to do to spend the day but sit quietly with the blinds drawn and keep noise at a minimum.  Christmas is sometimes just a day to fight to be alive to someone with a life threatening disease.  To be a survivor, the miracle of Christmas is being alive. 

So let’s not forget, as you open your presents circled around your
family that some are not quite as lucky as you.  Take a few minutes on  Christmas to bow your head around your tree to give others a silent prayer for God to touch their life on the 25th with an added ray of hope, like the day Jesus was born.


 Many are born into a simple life, poor, less than desirable circumstances.  It could be as unfortunate as a barn, with only the hay to keep a baby warm and a North Star shining bright to light the sky and a manager as opposed to an incubator.  But prayers and the grace of God makes all things possible. With our prayers, we can turn simple child's dreams into reality and make Christmas wishes come true. 

12/12/2014

Christmas with Tammy

 

The idea of a Christmas party is more about a celebration of being together. It is about sharing in the joy of the upcoming celebration of the birth of Christ. But somehow, over the years, it has become so commercialized that it has become more about gift giving, eating well, and out shining each other with fancy Christmas wear.  

 

I am not saying any of that is all bad.  There is a place for having a frivolous party in the hectic pace of life, and some people in society need that.  There was a time in my life when I needed that.  In particular, when I was convinced I would live to a ripe age of 100.  Those were the days when I was young, carefree and death did not seem eminent.

 

The reality of my life today is focused more on the reason Jesus came to this world, on board so to speak.  Or is it, more to the point, why I came completely
on board never to ever want to look back?  Deepening my faith at a core level and truly understanding the purpose of what I am to do with his message has left an indelible footprint on my life.

 

Christmas is more than just a birth of a baby named Jesus in a manger.  His birth led to his death, at our hands and then to his resurrection for our saving grace.  

     Colossians 2:13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.

 

Attending a Christmas party with cancer survivors is unlike any other holiday party I have ever attended.  Please don’t think it was about cancer or that the disease was even discussed because it was never brought up. No one battling the disease that I consider a close friend defines their identity with the ‘c’ word. It is simply something they have, much as some folks have diabetes.  

 

A close friend of mine hosted this party at her home.  Her home was warm and
inviting and decorated beautifully.  It  had the wonderfully warm loving touch. I say this with added emphasis because many of the decorations were homemade, bought at Salvation Army places where others could profit from her hard earned dollars, or were items with a story behind them, from family, friends or those she had helped along the way.

 

Everyone in attendance is a survivor of some type of cancer.  Many do not realize that the word survivor denotes the individual has lived a day beyond 

the diagnosis. It does not mean the cancer is gone.  Thus, some of us are in remission, some present were not.   The commonality was everyone appreciates life and unlike so many in this world, all do not take things for granted nor carry hate and anger in their heart. It is indeed a loving group of Christian women to be circled around and love.  

 


This crowd is a different sort than most Christmas parties you will attend. No one was dressed in Christmas wear.  We all like it and love the spirit of having it but the money we have is more likely spent on giving gifts to family, friends, charities and others that are near and dear to us.  Our conversations   are not about materialistic things.  I have no idea what anyone wants for Christmas there, what the worst gift they ever got was, etc.  We focus more on the things that matter in life, our families, what is going on in our lives, because we never know for sure if we will be there for the next Christmas, the next day.   There are people present that have the disease growing; you cannot take your life for granted. I repeat, life is precious, grab those moments and use them wisely. We are not wasting what might be a last moment asking someone about something as insignificant as a gift.  We want to share laughter and hugs and build memories to last a lifetime with each other.

 

I say this not out of sorrow but to be honest, to be real.  Christmas is about honesty; Jesus came down to teach us about our Savior.  We needed to know this before we chose our path in life and die.  Our party participants know that death is surely going to happen just as surely as our birth.  We spend our time on the moments in life to treasure, thus our party is quiet loving moments, reflecting on what makes our lives special.  It is more of a purr in the room than shouting and yelling.  We prefer soft Christmas carols to loud boisterous bawdy Christmas music.  We laugh and we sigh with contentment over past memories.   We hug ourselves and each other over our good fortune to be together and the people in our lives to share our Christmas season with and feel blessed to be here another year.

 

I had committed to make a video of the pictures from our party. When I pulled the pictures together everyone had taken, I realized there was not a great deal of pictures to choose from.  I suppose that is understandable.  Our group is not about looking for a camera, not about posing, just about being together and the camaraderie. Hence, I pulled some images from some other Facebook friends pages to help complete the video. Hopefully you’ll enjoy those images also.  And those that are added will be flattered!  Click Here 4 Video