So yesterday, I got some great news, I won a contest on Facebook from OzTent USA. They asked “What does Christmas Mean to You?” Here’s what I told them:
“Christmas is about recognizing the good in all of us; the celebration of religious holidays together with family and friends by our sides. It is giving our time and money to others less fortunate, it is recognizing that everyone celebrates differently, it is about traditional meals and gifts, smiling faces and love for each other. Whatever your tradition, make sure you include someone new, someone in need and someone you love, that will make Christmas a happier time for all.”
When I wrote that, I was thinking about all the Christmases something wasn’t quite right, the year Kayla didn’t get anything she wanted; the years we traipsed to my in-laws and sat like cardboard waiting for the “family” Christmas to be over – each of us with our orange and candy in a brown paper sack. I thought about ringing the bell for the Salvation Army this week and all the people that will be better served, not just by my hours, but the hours of all the volunteers all over the country. I thought of the traditional food we put on the table, a repeat of Thanksgiving because it’s my favorite meal to cook. I thought about all the people who don’t cook great meals, because they don’t know how and where do they go? I thought about those with no one to spend Christmas with and realized, once again, how lucky I am. We may not have everything, but we truly have it all. Our lives have turned out to be the best I could hope for. There is love in my heart every day, there is a kiss and a cuddle and acknowledgement and all the things I was missing when I hadn’t figured out who I wanted to be. I no longer go to church and celebrate the birth of Christ as I once did, but he is in my heart as I approach the world with as much kindness as I can muster. I don’t exchange gifts with anyone, but take great pleasure in sending gifts to the kids and grandkids, and cards to our tribe.
My life is not perfect, it is better, it is lived, with love and laughter, with smiles and tears, with gratitude and joy. I am so lucky.