December has come and with her the greeting of winter. The snow has fallen; we have lit our candles, decorated our trees and turned on hundreds of tiny lights on our porch while basking in this magical season. We attend parties, we remember those we have lost and gather at the table of content. December always seems to bring us closer to those we love and hold close. It is a time for magic and memories and is the month blessings seem to come to us from all around. Life takes on a new meaning and we feel the love of both family and friends embracing us. We even find the answers to our prayers don't seem so far away even if they aren't the ones we were looking for.
If we take the time to look deeper, to look past the pretty paper and the twinkling lights we will see what the season is truly about. You see when it comes to the giving of gifts this Christmas do we not truly find ourselves in the gifts of friendship and love? Christmas is here and even if we are living in the darkest hour, those touched by the hand of the true Christmas spirit bring us hope, comforting our wounded hearts coming to us without thought of themselves to meet our most desperate needs. These are the angles who guide us through this season and into the rest of the year with tidings of joy. Grace overflows through them, teaching each one of us how to give without thought to ourselves. The true meaning of sacrifice takes on new meaning and the gift of love is received with humility and genuine thankfulness.
It is no secret life has not been kind to my family over these last four years but in all seriousness life has been the toughest we have ever seen these last six months. I say that after surviving breast cancer, chemo and the whole trip to the mad hatter’s tea party the beast brings with her following diagnosis. Sadly many have even been witness to my brokenness and I can say with certainty these last six month I have questioned every part of my faith. I have dropped to my knees asking God why while crying and with tears falling not just down my face but from my soul. Icy darkness has tried time and time again to cover me with doubt. I have even come close to feeling the total loss of hope as this cold wind has blown into and through our lives.
I have dropped to my knees so many times as I have watched my family struggle through the dark, cold nights of winter. Many nights I have wondered if we were living on the dark side of the moon night after night listening to my boys words of fear and uncertainty, feeling alone as if there was no sun to rise in the morning. BUT we all come out of the darkness, and the sun does rise. We have done without much, worried through these troubled times, been down on our knees traveling through moonless nights and down the rabbits hole yet the sun still rises day after day. I have sat here waiting silently, scared, fearful we are walking this journey alone. But then a phone call come through to say it will be OK, asking if we need anything, a card will show up with a just enough cash to pay a bill or put food on the table. It is then I realize how blessed we really are. I do not need material things, no; all I ask for is a full belly and blessing of my family around me.
Three years ago life was not a given, I did not know if I would live to see another Christmas and yet here I am! How can I ask for more? Material things are over rated are they not? Life is about the hope of things to come, the faith we hold in our hearts and the blessing of the family and friends who surround us each and every day. I have heard it said destinations are where we begin again. After all isn't death a journey we are walking together? No one is immune from her claws nor can we avoid death but we can share the journey together laughing, living and enjoying the wonders of what this life offers us along the way. There is no rescue from the darkness but there is the breaking light of a new day. Night must fall but the light of day must also rise. You see once you have faced death, looked her straight in the eyes and laughed your way through the darkness life takes on a whole new meaning. There is so much to celebrate with or without gifts under the tree. When hope is born during suffering then the idea of selling your wedding ring isn't so painful. After all isn't that what Christmas is all about? It is not about how many gifts you receive or how grand the meal upon your table is. No Christmas is about sharing, giving, spending time together and the sacrifice required to obtain those things. I tell you THIS is the greatest gift of the season. The cold winter will eventually melt into spring and so I challenge you to share this gift with those you love.
In the gift of winter's sufferings my heart has been filled with hope. I have indeed heard the call of Christmas joy. The touch of magic has touched my spirit as she has danced in the light for all of us to see. Christmas cheer is here and I ask you to allow it to fill the air and your heart as it has mine. So pull those you love close to you. Hold them tightly this year and lay down the trapping of making Christmas perfect instead forget the bows or the perfectly stuffed turkey and enjoy the movements you share together. Yes, my friend it's almost Christmas Eve and so I ask you do you hear the bells? Do you hear the peace they bring, the hope and the goodwill the bells sing? There is such power in the bells of Christmas as they call out to each of us. Yes, I have felt the beauty their song brings and the glad tiding they impart. Listen closely, I know you can hear them, let the song of the Christmas bells fill you. Ah I stand here feeling the winter breeze upon my face and I embrace it. The doors of discontent have been thrown open and the veil of fear is gone. Night to day the bells ring and they beckon me to the table of hope and the tree of giving.
With the ringing of the Christmas bells I am healed, my heart is not left broken or shattered. So just as others have brought us hope and promise I gladly give to the same table. I may not be able to bring material things but I bring thankfulness and gratitude. I offer my love and devotion as a friend and as a member of this human race. I give my hope, my faith and offer the ringing of my own Christmas bell to light the way of anyone in struggling through their own darkness. For my reward is not in the bright shiny packages under the tree, no, my reward is in the giving of hope and light to others. True it may still be winter in our wonderland but we have been given a beautiful tree of giving to gather around. This tree, this giving tree grows, more beautiful as each day passes. No matter how big or small these precious gifts under the giving tree are they have brought hope and joy into our home. Truly the gift of hope is the greatest gift we can receive or we can give to one another. So my friend I have wrapped her beautiful, warm light around our tree this year. The heavens may open up, the skies may pour down upon us but the gift of hope will continue to grow within us.
As I bring what may be my last post of the year to a close I ask you to let the magic of this wondrous season fill you. Believe in the angel sitting on top of your tree or the star shining brightly. Believe in the hope she brings and the power a simple prayer can unleash. So please play me your Christmas pipes, may the bells ring loudly across this blessed morning and bring the peace of Christmas into each of our lives. May we gather with our families and feel the blessing of Winter's Solstice. If you listen closely you will hear near or far the miracle of the Christmas pipes as she calls each one of us home. May you and yours know peace on earth and the goodwill this season brings to us all.