After a busy Sunday of women’s bible study, running errands, cleaning and late afternoon football games, with the closing of my iPad, I sat in the quiet room lit only by the multicolored lights on the Christmas tree. The gentle swaying of the swing chair and the comfort of plush pillows relaxed my mind and slowed my breathing. In this peace-filled room gazing at the ornaments, the sentiment of the season filled me, bringing to mind memories of past Christmases.
In the daily pressures of providing for two young children (7 and 3 1/2 years), plus one due in the next few months, I attended a single Moms support group. In November, Roxanne, the group facilitator, requested each of us Moms fill out a form, listing our children’s ages, genders and sizes, for a Christmas wish list. Sitting home one evening, I heard a knock and opened the door to find a young couple with their arms full of gifts for our family. On Christmas morning, I was overwhelmed after my daughters and I opened the gifts and the room was filled with toys, outer wear and home goods. People had gone above and beyond my expectations. I was truly moved by their kindness to give so freely to help a family they did not know.
My mind then went further back to when I was a child. The only tree me and my seven siblings saw at Christmas was in our grandparent’s home. This particular Christmas, my Mom brought home a tree and stand with what little money she had. Not able to afford ornaments, we decorated the tree with construction paper chains and strings of popcorn and cranberries. When the tree was fully decorated, Mom gave us one more surprise when she pulled an angel from her bag, placed it on top of the tree, plugged it in, and we were all in awe of the room now illuminated by the first Christmas tree in our home. This was also the first Christmas after our parents were divorced. For over 40 years now, this angel has been providing light on top of my Mom’s Christmas tree. Not one bulb has ever dimmed or needed replacing. I do not remember the wrapped gifts that year. With grateful tears, I remember the best gift being Mom using what little she had to give us a Christmas filled with light in the midst of a very difficult, painful time for our family.
When you are in the chaos and busyness that the holiday season brings, trying to find the right gift, worrying the gifts you give are not enough, worrying because you cannot afford to buy any gifts, stressing over what you will feed everyone and how they will fit in your home, you must take time to pause.
Take time to remember what the Spirit of Christmas is—giving joy, showing love, sharing the gift of light within you. The gift of light we received from the first Christmas in the birth of a King, the gift of light we must be and bring each day we are given.