Tuesday, December 20, 2005

When Christmas is the "Real Thing"

It's less than a week before Christmas day and I'm as ready for the season as I can be.

The longest night is almost upon us, and it makes me think of what it must have been like in ancient times, before electricity, before candles, before almost everything except fire, and most of all, before people could be sure that the light would return. I wonder if northern people lit fires on every hill top to encourage the sun.

We will not be huddling around a fire and waiting for the return of the light, but we will enjoy that ancient symbol of life, the evergreen tree, and we will feast and talk and laugh and probably one of my grandsons will get over-excited and be banished, but only for a short while. And the day-of-days will be too long and it will be too short, and it will be too suddenly over.

While we celebrate the season of the return of the light and of the birth of Christ, we'll remember what the "real thing" is all about. We always give thanks for surviving the year and we remember those who have precious little to be thankful for, but are thankful nonetheless.

Our family struggles often, in fact almost constantly, but we are more fortunate than many, and yes, we are blessed. And because we are blessed, the end of the year is when we can, and do, give something to others. This year, I think my contributions will go to Doctors Without Borders and to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

May the season of light and joy bring happiness and peace to you all.

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