Two days before Christmas, and the snow is really coming down. My two ‘babies’ are resting warm on my lap (no need for a weighted blanket these days, for two Chihuahua’s are just the perfect size for a substitute.) “It’s A Wonderful Life” is playing on my television, and my son is just heading out to shovel the driveway before my husband comes home. In the back of my mind is a small concern of accidents, loss, and change – this weather always brings that fear out in me.
On account of the weather, my friend who was to visit this afternoon had to cancel. There is some disappointment, but above that is a relief that she is safe at home, for the roads are really bad right now.
The gifts are wrapped in bags we have recycled for years, and are sitting under the tree which is lit in red, with a glowing white angel on the top. I set a record this year, buying everything in one three hour shopping trip a few weeks ago. Not that I bought much, for though I love my family, I do not believe in going beyond my means to buy things they might appreciate, but do not need.
As usual I worry about these gifts that I bought; I am not good at choosing presents for people. It simply isn’t my thing. Will they like them? Are they enough? Are they too practical, or not practical enough? Gift giving is difficult, stressful work – yet I still hope deep down that they will be pleased.
When I was a child, I was always sick at Christmas; too much excitement, I guess. It was too bad, too, for every year we went to visit at my Aunt’s house, with all of my father’s family there. It was exactly where I wanted to be, yet due to feeling so sick, I was always put in a quiet room to rest, and had to miss out on most of the visiting.
These days I still like Christmas. I don’t often find myself sick as a result of the excitement anymore, but I am also not close enough to visit my family, either. I haven’t seen them at Christmas in 17 years, and it does make me sad. Still I have my son, my husband, my church… though my family doesn’t live here, I am not alone this Christmas, and I am hopeful that I will enjoy the day anyway.
My gifts were given to me early this year in the form of my son’s old gaming computer that he reformatted and set up for me a couple of weeks ago when my laptop died, and my second chihuahua – mother to my Clara, who was also given to me nearly two weeks ago – a blessing my husband allowed. I am very thankful for both.
Yet presents are not what makes a good Christmas. I do enjoy the visiting, and the Christmas services at church. I enjoy the games, and the puzzles that we do together as a family. For me, time spent is so much more important, and so much more appreciated, than the gifts that come… or don’t.
What I really hope for this year, as I enter the Christmas season, is that our gift to my mother of a return flight to come for a visit is accepted, and able to be used. It has been over two years since I last saw my mom, and I sure do miss her – but the 4000km between us often seems insurmountable, for none of us has much in terms of money.
As I finish this post, and enjoy the end of my movie, I want to take the time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas filled with love, and family, and all things good and hopeful.