“Oh, Come All Ye Faithful,
Joyful and Triumphant!”
Even though the Holiday has come and gone, I’m still basking in that warm and fuzzy, lingering feeling of love and caring, otherwise known as Christmas Spirit.
Like many folks who celebrate, Christmas is deeply rooted in tradition for me. My European parents have always emphasized Christmas Eve as the more celebrated day of the two. Unlike my all-American friends who opened their gifts Christmas morning, Santa always came to our house after dinner on Christmas Eve. When I was a child we would trade off each year with my Dad’s sister, celebrating in Westchester or Upstate New York with my two, older boy cousins who lived in the woods. By the time my children were born, my cousins had already started their own families and carried on the tradition in their own ways. Ours was tweaked slightly so we could continue to celebrate Christmas Eve with my parents at their home and celebrate Christmas Day, the American way, in my home. Santa’s magical flexibility allowed for him to drop off a few gifts at Nana & Opa’s house after dinner before making his way to our house Christmas morning.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years however, it’s that like it or not, change is the only real constant. You can go with the flow, embracing it the best you can or be miserable.
An incident at the beginning of December unfortunately, made it clear that this Christmas was going to be different, forcing me to rethink how we normally celebrate Christmas Eve. Even though my parents would be celebrating as they usually do with our extended family, being there for us, was not an option. Circumstances beyond our control and careful consideration made it necessary for me to decline the invitation, in effect, displacing us and leaving us with nowhere to be on Christmas Eve.
Each generation tries to do better, provide more guidance and opportunity for their kids but mostly we all just want for our children to be happy. My kids love their extended family. Talking to them about why we weren’t going to celebrate Christmas Eve with my family this year was really hard. And even though after everything my kids have been through, it’s been important to me to try to keep certain things the same for them over the past two years, I realize life is filled with hard stuff. All we can really do for our kids is arm them with the truth and let them know we will always be there to love and support them.
“Sing Choirs of Angels Sing in Exultation,
Sing All Ye Citizens of Heaven Above!”
I believe in magic; Christmas Magic.
It’s the gift that appears from seemingly nowhere and has no tangible existence to speak of, like the unlikely turn-of-events in a situation that you couldn’t foresee working out — working out. It can come in the form of an unexpected act of kindness or an expression of gratitude. It’s when all things align and the view is suddenly clear, making way for something special to occur, like the sighting of a shooting star or the appearance of a rare blue moon.
It’s getting what you need, not necessarily what you’ve been asking for and recognizing it when it shows itself.
I love Christmas because it embodies the spirit of giving (and I don’t mean of things) from one person to another.
An unexpected, greatly appreciated phone call came about a week before Christmas. My Dad’s sister, the aunt we shared Christmas with when I was a child invited me and my children to join her, a friend and one of my cousins on Christmas Eve.
I haven’t spent a Christmas Eve with my Tante Christine in over 20-years.
She hasn’t spent a Christmas without at least two of her four grandchildren present in over 25-years.
This year Christmas Eve was different. None of her grandchildren could be there.
My kids and I needed some family for Christmas.
My aunt, needed some kids.
We — needed each other.
May the Magic of the Holiday Season fill your heart with joy and gratitude, as it did mine.