Best Gift Ever

The Best Gifts Ever

Dec 10-3If you’ve read my columns the past couple of years, you will know how much I anticipated one day being able to start my own new holiday traditions similar to what I was able to do with my parents before they passed away.  While I greatly appreciated being able to eat at my friends houses, I longed for something to call my own.

And so this year some traditions began.  Three weeks ago Milton and I decided to decorate our own Christmas tree.  Gone were my monkey decorations (which I now refer to as the bachelorette tree).  We found ourselves walking up and down the aisles of Target to find ornaments and tinsel that matched our style.  We found a red “2010 Christmas” ornament and bought two stockings – each with the letter M on them.

It was great how we organized our little system of hanging up the ornaments.  While it was too cold to hang decorations outside on the bushes, we instead put electric candles in the windows.  I was amused when Milton came back downstairs with one candle.  He said, “I didn’t put this candle up because it’s in the same room as your wedding dress.  I know that room is off limits!”

All of the decorations were up and we were proud of ‘our first Christmas tree’.  We (well at least I) had worked up an appetite and were headed out the door.  Before I could put on my shoes, Milton says “Hold on, there’s one thing missing. “  He walks out to his car and I’m standing there clueless and to what he’s talking about.  He walks inside carrying a big red box and two smaller gray boxes.  I realize that they are my Christmas presents!  They have now been sitting under the tree for three weeks.  Although I have no clue what is in them, they are the best gifst ever!

Christmas Peace

Christmas Peace

Dec09-5I arrived at the SDF airport bright and early on Christmas Eve.  My 9:10am Continental flight was right on time.  It was luckily a straight shot from Louisville to Houston!

Like usual, it was a small plane.  One seat on one side, two seats on the other.  My seat was 7A.  Right across from me were two cute little girls that giggled in their seat. They directed their attention up to their mother who was sitting at the very front in row 1A.  I thought for a second if I wanted to have the Christmas spirit and let the mother have my seat.  But, I hate the front row since I would have no access to my carryon. I thought about it as the plane finished loading.

One seat in front of me (6A) a woman talked to her husband in 5A.  He was rather tall and was hoping to possibly sit in the front seat for more room.  As I heard their conversation, I leaned forward and divulged my plan… “Excuse me, I overheard you all talking.  I was going to switch places with the lady upfront so that she could sit next to her kids.  However, I really don’t want that front seat.  How about if I take your seat (5A), you can take her seat (1A) and she can have my seat next to her kids?”  He thought this was a perfect idea – Merry Christmas – so I walked up to the front of the plane.

I approached the mother and said, “Excuse me Ms., I wanted to see if you wanted to switch me places.”  She said, “What’s wrong?  Are they misbehaving?”  I said, “No, I was sitting across from them and was offering to let you sit closer to them.”  This mother wasted no time with her response “OH NO! I’m perfectly fine up here!”  And that was the end of the conversation.

I walked back to 7A and the girls told me they were 8 year old twins.  They said they usually get along. I let them know that they better get along for our flight.  They giggled some more.  They then pointed to the back of the plane and said “and our dad is sitting back there!”

I guess we all need different types of Christmas peace.  It was probably a major blessing for both the mother and the father to have 2 1/2 hours of peace and quiet to themselves.  Not all gifts cost hundreds of dollars or even have to be wrapped.  Sometimes it’s just a simple gesture that makes the world of a difference!

M.Y.  December 2009

Tis the Season 2007

“Tis the Season”

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