Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas Crazies or Reason for the Season

(This post is a repeat)

Ten Signs that you are infested with an attack of the Christmas Crazies

1.  You find that your tongue is dried beyond redemption from licking copious amounts of Christmas Card envelopes, and stamps.
2.  It is not merely a nice idea to send out Christmas is a necessity....even though you are working two jobs and have three little kids, a husband, a dog, and two kitties!
3.  The NEED of baking cookies to take to the entire neighborhood is constantly throbbing at the back of your mind.
4.  The tree is up, decorated, you've been the home room mother for every single one of your children's Christmas parties at school, and you wish that Christmas was over and your kids were back in school.
5.  Just as a stranger in a department store  reaches to grab a toy that your child is convinced they must have or simply DIE, you put your hand under hers and rip it away...then laugh in maniacal pleasure!
6.  You then engage in a wrestling match with the above mentioned lady to redeem that aforementioned item that your child will simply DIE if they don't find under the tree on Christmas morning!!!
7.  There is a Christmas party at church and you insist on taking pictures with Santa and ALL of your children.  Even Bess the thirteen month old that you KNOW will scream and cry in terror at the sight of a jolly old man in a red suit with white trim (how does he keep that white trim white going down all of those nasty dirty chimneys in the world)? MUST have her picture taken with him because after all this the picture will bring happy memories in years to come DARN IT!
8.  You pretend that you're asleep so that your husband will get up and comfort Bess (who is having night terrors about some strange man in a weird red suit)!
9.  You get up at midnight to go to a Christmas sale with toys that your children just HAVE TO HAVE OR THEY'LL DIE....and when you get home exhausted you discover that you saved 50 cents at the all important sale and now you only have two hours to sleep before your entire family will be up and want you to make breakfast!  (Let them eat granola bars....after all you were up all night for them, right)?
10.  The number TEN reason that you know that you're suffering from an attack of the Christmas Crazies.  Your family is sitting around the Christmas tree singing Christmas Carols and all that you can think of is, "When can I insist that we all go to bed?"

Now the reason for the season.  When my beloved Mama (94 years young) was a tiny child in the 1920s her Father taught her a lesson that stuck with her over the years.  Before they would go into the magical Christmas room where Santa had left gifts he would exclaim, "Christmas Gift."  My Mama knew that he was reminding his family of the reason that gifts are given at Christmas.  The original purpose of those gifts was to remind us that God our Heavenly Father gave the most precious of all gifts, he allowed his son Jesus Christ to be born into this world.  He knew the cruel suffering that his son would endure.  Yet God knew that it was necessary for Christ to come to earth to break the bonds of death for ALL of God's spirit children, that includes you and I.  Christ had made a choice using his own Agency to make this grand sacrifice.

So as the Christmas Crazies threaten to engulf you in their tight hold remind yourself, "Would the world stop spinning if I sent out JANUARY cards this year?  If I allow someone else to be room mother this year, would my children suffer irreparable harm that would lead to years of therapy? (Not so much, not really)"

Review your priorities often, maybe each morning before you start your day.  You may even find pockets of time that you can temporarily relinquish (like watching television or going on Facebook for four hours).  After all Christmas Crazies ARE temporary.  What is PERMANENT will be the precious memories that you make.  Memories like the beauty of lights that surprise and delight your soul as you drive through a normally dark and dreary neighborhood as you are going home from your work.  Remember the precious smile of your youngest watching Christmas lights and listening to Carolers sing.  The joy on your child's face as they see the wonders that Santa brought for them will make all your effort worth it!

Just so you understand, I'm writing this entry to remind MYSELF of what matters during this time.  There is a song by Sarah Bareilles that says, "All I am, all I need, is the air I would kill to breathe. Holds my life in his hands AND STILL I'M SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING..."  Nyle, my beloved husband of 27 years, I still miss with intensity breathing the air that we shared.  Nyle passed away in January of 2012.

Yet I know that he would insist that I continue "SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING!"  I will use the "Reason for the Season," to not give in to mindless sorrow and the deepest of anguish.  I will use the joyous Christmases we shared to keep me from the Christmas Crazies.

Oh I WILL grieve but it will not be the type of grief that drives me to desperation.  It will be tempered with the joyous knowledge that because of God's gift to all of mankind, I WILL see my beloved husband again!

A Musical Christmas Present

Rae was sad.  At ten years of age she hadn't been able to earn money to buy Christmas presents for her parents.  She loved them so much, and she loved watching their dear faces when they opened a gift she had given them.  Her golden brown eyes were swimming in tears as she contemplated a Christmas morning with no gift under the tree for them.

Then, the tears stopped, and a giant smile filled Rae's face with radiance.  She knew what to do!  Her parents both loved music.  Her Father was always in the choir at church.  Her Mama sang as she did her household tasks.

Her Dad had purchased a piano soon after her parents married.  The unusual thing?  He and his wife could NOT play the piano.  His reasoning?  "Our children will ALWAYS have music in our home."

Rae looked through their children's church hymnal.  She wanted the perfect song.  When she found, "Oh Hush Thee My Baby," she got goosebumps.  The song was PERFECT!  It was unusual, not a carol sung all the time.  It had rich musical dynamics.  Most importantly?  Rae could play it on the piano.

Her next step was to involve her four year old sister in the plan.  She thought that her parents would enjoy the musical gift even more with two of them participating.  It was hard finding a time when both of her parents weren't around to hear them practice.  Rae forged ahead.

Rae knew when the perfect night arrived.  Both of her parents were home.  They were all feeling the Christmas spirit.  A lovely tree stood in the corner of their front room.  It was silver, aluminum, her sister Joy was far too allergic for any type of evergreen.  It shimmered softly in the light.

She said, "Mama, Papa, Joy and I have a Christmas gift that we wish to give you.  Do you have some time?  Can we give it to you now?"

They both agreed.  Rae sat down at the piano to play.  Joy stood by Rae's side facing their parents.  Rae was very anxious as she played the introduction to the song.  She was afraid that she would make a mistake and their well rehearsed gift would be ruined. 

As they began to sing, the flowing rhythm, and the sacred words all begin to calm Rae's nervous hands and voice.  Rae and Joy's voices blended together well.  The sisterhood they shared was evident as they harmonized.

They sang three verses, and somehow it felt to Rae that they got a little better on each verse.  She was sad when they finished the last note.  It had felt so dear, so right to present this gift of music to her parents.  Rae was a little shy to turn around and see her parents faces.

Applause turned her around.  Both of her parents were clapping joyfully.  Her Father's face concerned her.  He was wiping tears away.  Sadly she wondered, "Was our singing so poor that it made Dad cry?"

Her Father came to them.  Wrapping his long arms around both of them he gave them each a sound kiss.  "Oh girls.  This was the best present that you could ever have given us."

Their Mama echoed their Dad's words.  "This IS the best gift.  Thank you, thank you.  I could never have gotten anything that I enjoyed more."

Rae's heart seemed to expand with joy.  She hugged her little sister.  The warmth in the room had very little to do with the job that their furnace did.  Rae knew that she would never forget that wonderful moment.