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A Christmas Gift

Updated: Dec 20, 2023



If I may have your permission to wax counter-cultural for a moment.....I have a simple question. What does Christmas mean to you? When I was 12 years old or so, I wrote a poem entitled "Christmas at Grandma's," which began with the line "When I think of Christmas I see." (original poem included below). In the poem I attempted to capture with words the feeling and meaning of Christmas as I understood it at the time. As I am thinking of this now, I realize that Christmas is very much a FEELING, much more than it is a day or a tangible thing. In my opinion, what Christmas is most certainly not is a physical present, or gift. That's kind of ironic in today's culture where the word Christmas is synonymous with the giving of extravagant gifts.

Because what I am trying to convey to you here is so difficult to describe with words, I want to share an illustrative story with you. Once, many moons ago, I was the Executive Director of a non-profit organization that involved mentoring at-risk youth and also serving the community. Each Christmas I made it a point to organize various outreach events, and one of those included serving the homeless community in our area. It was one of my most favorite activities during that time. One particular memory stands out to me, and comes to mind each and every Christmas. On one of our many excursions to minister to the homeless, I was driving around with a van full of lovely young men and women, eager to give to those in need at one of the "happiest" times of year. We had assembled what we called "Christmas goody bags" for our homeless community. These bags contained a variety of items such as potted meats, nonperishable food items, hygiene items such as a comb, cleansing wipes, lotion, toothbrush/paste, a pair of gloves and a hat, as well as some Christmas items. We generally would put some seasonal baked goods in there, like Christmas cookies and brownies, a hand-signed Christmas card from all of us, and as a final touch--a classic red and white candy cane. It wasn't much, really, but to these men and women it meant everything on that day. On this particular day we encountered quite a few, but one man in particular is branded in my mind forever. When we gave him the Christmas bag his face literally lit up and his smile went so wide it consumed his face. He glanced quickly in the bag and couldn't have possibly seen all of the items it contained before he grasped the candy cane with two hands and pulled it out with wonder and delight on his face. He took the candy cane and hung it like a fishing hook on the edge of his hat and began to dance around. He turned and danced a little jig right there by himself in the Wal-Mart parking lot. He was so ecstatically happy over those small items that that candy cane meant more to him than a brand new car would mean to some people. I don't think that is a moment any of us who were there will ever forget. Now that, ladies and gentleman, is Christmas!

Is Christmas the kind of gifts you will get? The amount of food you will eat? Or the places you will go? I would argue it is none of those things. I think Christmas is the connections we cherish and celebrate, the love we give and receive, the acts of kindness both to friends and to strangers, and the spirit of love and joy that is suddenly universal in a way that is lost during most of the year. Christmas is not about money and it is not about gifts. Christmas is about those we love--whether they have two legs, four legs, fur, or scales....our LOVE is what makes Christmas. And Christmas can be had and enjoyed at any time of the year, but for some reason we limit ourselves to just a few weeks or days of it. This year, maybe we can break the pattern and carry the spirit of Christmas with us into 2024. Perhaps we can try to weave it in and out of every month of this coming year. Are you with me? Let's make Christmas last.....the rest of our lives, if we can! Capture and carry with you the true gift of Christmas this year--L O V E.

And in that spirit, I gift you with the poem I wrote over three decades ago (below), and this free downloadable resource:

Have a wonderful Christmas season!


*If you are unable to download the PDF file below, you can find this FREE in my online store at:


Copy of Copy of Falling in love with myself (again) journal template (1)
.pdf
Download PDF • 22.46MB

“Christmas”

 

When I think of Christmas I see,

A brightly lit cedar tree.

On each limb, many shapes and sizes,

And underneath, carefully wrapped surprises.

When I think of Christmas I see,

Jesus, as a little tiny baby,

Lying in a straw-lined manger bed

With bright chubby cheeks all rosy red.

When I think of Christmas I see,

Happily smiling faces, shouting with glee.

And the sounds of colored paper being torn,

Long before dawn on a Christmas morn.


(Side Note: this poem was published in several papers at the time and garnered the attention of a local judge, who requested to meet me)


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Kelly Sheaks
Kelly Sheaks
Jan 03

This is so lovely Kristi just as you are ♥️! Can't wait to try the journal!

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Thank you for sharing this. It resonated with me. As you know, Christmas has always been my least favorite time of year but after reading this, I can now look at it differently! Thank you for the gift of YOU! Merry Christmas!

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