This year I learned that Christmas is much more than just December 25. It’s a season. My Christmas started on Friday, December 14 with our annual office party. Each year, my 12 co-workers and myself make homemade presents for each person. Although we cringe at the thought of making something, we are always touched by the creativity and thought put into each present.
On Friday, December 21 I went to the Home of the Innocents. The Pediatric Convalescent Center children had a Christmas pageant. This wasn’t your ordinary performance. These kids are all medically fragile. The majority were in wheelchairs and depend on skilled nurses for eating, movement and all daily activities. Although these kids will never be fully independent, it was wonderful to see the smiles on their faces as they heard the bells jingle or became excited at the music playing in the background. I looked around at the Home’s cafeteria workers, employee and parents and saw that they were touched.
Sunday, December 23 I went to the Christ Mass at St. Stephen Church across the bridge. All of the choirs performed along with the liturgical dancers. One of my joys of the holiday season has always been Christmas hymns. I was blessed for two hours to hear the sounds of hundreds of voices singing songs of both old and new. As I walked out the church door, I knew Christmas was right around the corner.
Monday, December 24 I went to the pageant at the church where I grew up. At the very end of the service as we sang the closing hymn, the people in the pew in front of my scurried around. The majority of the church members are over the age of 60 so I thought something happened to one of them. Instead, it was a young adult, Katie, that I grew up with, that had fainted. Our rector stopped the service as she asked if there was a doctor in the house. The person that rushed across the sanctuary was Doug, another person I grew up with in this church. Although it was an unfortunate incident, it was amazing to watch the former youth of the church now serving as young adults. You never know when you’ll be called to give back.
Then Christmas Day arrived. My morning began with volunteering at Wayside Christian Mission to serve lunch at the men’s center. As the men strolled in to be fed, the choir in the background started singing the following words, “Thank you Lord. I just want to thank you Lord.” These words resonated as I went through the line to get a plate to serve for someone. I stopped and paused as tears filled my eyes and became so thankful for all the things in my life. As I placed the plate in front of someone while saying “Merry Christmas”, he turned to me with a smile and said “God Bless You”.
The rest of my holiday was spent with friends, food and fun. It ended at five the next morning. It truly was a wonderful holiday season and I don’t believe it is over. Blessings exist is all shapes and sizes. If you think yours are low, just look around and see the small fortunes that we often take for granted.
M.Y. December 2007