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Finding Your Christmas Spirit

Christmas Spirit is not always easily found - My husband struggled to find his every year. Too many years with mom in the hospital, Too many years far away from his family, Too many years of poor health, Have taken a toll on his life, And stolen his Christmas Spirit...

Too often, he sat quietly in his chair, A bystander, watching as I frantically decorated, baked, and shopped. He’d help print our Christmas cards, And watch Christmas movies, But, only rarely was he happy. He’d listen to the Christmas music, But, he could not find joy within it... This year was no different,

A new health challenge, Resulted in Kidney Failure. Now, tied to a machine for four hours, three times a week. It was just another reason to be frustrated and angry. Another Christmas season, Christmas Spirit nowhere to be found...

Somewhere buried deep inside, His Christmas Spirit was trying to rise. Christmas music and Movies brought tears to his eyes. He wanted to do something for the people, That take care of him at dialysis. Something special, for those that are there for him, Three times a week, every week...

He decided to bake. Now, baking is not something he usually does. He found recipes for Cranberry bread and Date Nut bread, And Saturday before Christmas, he baked. The Christmas music playing loudly, The smell of beautiful breads filled the house. Baked, packed and wrapped they were ready to go...

Sunday morning dialysis at five AM, A holiday week schedule, Things were not going well. There was a screamer in the unit that did not want to be there, The staff was grumpy and stressed, His fellow patients were quietly enduring their treatments, And Christmas Spirit was nowhere to be found...

He opened the box, sitting next to him, Revealing the breads, tied up with red and green ribbon. He handed one to each staff member. He wished them a Merry Christmas, And thanked them, for taking such good care of him. He watched, as the frowns turn into smiles, And eyes sparkled with delight...

He then passed out breads to his fellow patients, Once again, he watched as the smiles grew bigger and bigger, As each talked of how they would share it with their spouse, Or devourer it, slathered in butter, all by themselves. Then, something magical happened. The staff turned on the Christmas music, And there was laughter and smiles all around...

My husband came home happy and smiling. He had set out to do something nice for those around him. He had expected nothing in return, But, something else happened. The universe gave him something back, Something he missed, Something he had lost along the way...

There it was, That warm wonderful familiar feeling. He couldn’t stop smiling, And, he didn’t want to stop smiling, As the true meaning of Christmas, Bloomed inside him, And with that, He found his Christmas Spirit at last...

As we enter the last month of the year, we are thrust into a frenzy of activities full of emotion.

We focus on the things we feel we need to do, some we want to do, and some we feel we have to do to. Do we also take the time to focus on the joy and happiness of the holiday season?

Finding our Christmas Spirit extends well beyond Christmas. It starts with truly giving thanks at our national celebration of Thanksgiving. It includes the celebration of Hanukkah, Kwanza, December Solstice and Yule, and New Year Eve.

December is the darkest month in the northern hemisphere with December 21st the shortest day of sunlight.

It would have been so easy to sink into depression with so much darkness around us. Instead, we choose to celebrate, to bring friends and family close to us. We decorate and brighten the darkness with traditions of light, music, giving, connection, and peace.

We take the time to celebrate making it through another year around the sun. We mourn those lost and rejoice in those born. We cement memories of days past and create new dreams for our future days.

This time of year, it is most important to be present. I mean truly be present. It’s not about the presents we receive.

It’s about the things we give to others. It is this time of year that charities receive the bulk of their donations.

Why is that?

Our Christmas Spirit is found in the giving to others. Even those with the least to give find ways to be part of the greater Christmas Spirit of Giving.

The holidays give all of us permission to open our hearts and pocketbooks and give for a greater purpose than serving oneself.

I have seen people take off their own coat and give it to someone freezing on the street without a coat.

When you donate socks to the homeless, provide a holiday meal for a family, buy a toy for a child, donate to a pet shelter, or volunteer at a soup kitchen you are giving so much more than that material comfort. You are telling that person that you see them.

You are telling them that you care. You are telling them that they are deserving of love.

When you sing in a choir, participate in a holiday pageant, decorate your town tree, sing together the songs of the season, or wear festive clothing you are saying to the world I believe in something special. I believe in something bigger than me.

The reality is that Christmas Spirit is bigger than you or I.

When you feel it. When you truly feel it, it like being struck by an energy surge that starts with a warm inner glow and explodes into a kaleidoscope of light and good feelings toward everyone and everything.

Once ignited it stays with you. You feel an inner happiness and joy. Everything seems brighter, tastes better, and feels better. The sights, sounds, and smells rekindle memories.

Some of you, like my husband, may have a hard time finding your Christmas Spirit.

Believe that it is always there even if you can’t feel it yet. If you open your heart and mind you will find it. I know, I watched it happen every year.

Maybe it was the Christmas music. Maybe it was dressing up as Santa for a Christmas party. Maybe it was just the positive energy around the season that finally broke through.

If Ebenezer Scrooge could find his Christmas spirit I know you can too.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, we can come together in the true spirit of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, December Solstice and Yule, and New Year Eve.

A season of HOPE. A season of FAITH. A season of GIVING. A season of LOVE.

May we celebrate together with PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARD ALL..

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