Christmas Renewed

As the busy days of December flurry past and we march through our calendars to Christmas, I ponder on the many elements of the season. The dictionary gives us the literal definition:

a. the annual commemoration by Christians of the birth of Jesus Christ on Dec 25
  b. observed as a day of secular celebrations when gifts and greetings are exchanged

Reflecting on most of my Christmases, I feel a warm glow around my heart. But does that feeling come from observing the season as defined above, or from somewhere else? What is my common denominator, the origin of these warm, fuzzy, though sometimes bittersweet, emotions?

For me, it is Family. My most precious memories are intertwined with the love of close family through the years, especially the early reminiscences of my mom and dad, bless their souls, who helped create the tinseled childhood magic I hold so synonymous with Christmas.

Then came the low period. For years, more precisely since my mother became ill, I was the Scrooge who just wanted Christmas to go away. Putting up a tree, cooking and baking, the shopping, I only wanted to get it over with. Nothing seemed the same anymore after Mom got sick and passed away. I missed Dad too, of course, but to me, my mother epitomized Christmas, with her Nancy squares, her sumptuous turkey dinner, and her selfless but fun-loving spirit. I couldn’t look at a tree without thinking of the time I couldn’t get home, and she kept hers up and decorated for my visit on January 15th. Without my mom, my heart was no longer in it.

Mom - Christmas 1967
Mom – Christmas 1967

But somehow, this year feels different. At last, I can say I’m not going through the motions of the season. There is a sleigh full of love, too, in the shiny new memories I forge these days with my children and their significant others, and with our two beloved grandchildren. There is a renewed love, baked into the Christmas cookies I prepare (and the ones I buy), and in the gifts I wrap for them (yes, that includes gift cards!). There is love and wonder in our hearts seeing our grandson sing in his Grade One Christmas concert. There is laughter again while watching TV shows with the kids, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and silly Mr. Bean’s version of the holiday.

There is revived anticipation of traveling back to see our loved ones in a couple of weeks, a fresh gratitude when we gather round with our extended families, to eat and celebrate together. And when we return, there are the New Year’s festivities with friends here, who always make us feel like family.

Until I am with my grandbabies again, I will hang their pictures of the Grinch they drew for us this past weekend.

"What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?"
“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?”
"What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”
“What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will gaze at my grandson’s Kindergarten portrait…

10570415_10152599057065395_8728658344258524675_n…and remember the conversation we had on Saturday morning. He imagined being so tall his head touched the clouds. We joked about it, and then I said:

“If you’re that tall, people wouldn’t be able to talk to you. Not even your girlfriend could talk to you.”

“I don’t want one,” he said.

“A girlfriend?”

“No,” he said, giving me a hug. “I only want you, Nanny.”

Me: {{{heart melting}}} “Awww!” ❤

IMG_1180

What do you love about this time of year? Celebrating with family? Giving to the less fortunate?
The church services? The carols? The decorations?

Or is it all “Bah Humbug”? Has it been overshadowed by loss in your life?

Please share: what does Christmas mean to you? 

The Daily Post: Getting Seasonal