Somewhere in an old box or plastic bin there are a few scraps of yellowed paper colored with blue markers and crayons and cut in the shape of snowflakes. This time every year they are taken from their place and hung on a tree. They are a reminder of a time passed of poverty and riches.
There was once a Christmas when paper snowflakes and popcorn strung on sewing thread were all that decorated the Christmas tree. We have come a long way since then.
I remember a Christmas when I was fed by the generosity of an anonymous neighbor—as it turned out a poor widow—amid a celebration of handmade gifts that were nothing more than a drawing on butcher paper, and scraps sewn into a quilt for a doll.
The want of that time has left a scar on my soul. I run my finger over it from time to time to remind me of how blessed I am today and how little it takes to be happy. Such memories cause me to stop and wonder, are we really the richer, more enlightened, and progressively better, more evolved people we imagine ourselves to be?
There was something in the magic of little with love. Have we lost it forever? Is the grand show that has taken its place really better?
I wonder because I find myself at another of those places where the sorrow of want could cloud the sky and hide that shining star that burns to light the season.
I’m older now and not so easily knocked down. I know the gift of one day cannot eclipse the gift of a heart given each day in love and sincerity. I’m not fooled by grandstand plays of mandated virtues and supposed selflessness. I’m not impressed with gifts bestowed by tradition and devoid of the heart.
Love is its own gift—best wrapped in arms and hearts, freely given and gladly received. The gift of the Child of Bethlehem was not a gift of a day, a month, or a year—he was the gift of a life and a lifetime—a gift to turn our sorrow into joy.
If we are free to randomly pick a day to celebrate Jesus, then we are equally free to celebrate that love each and every day…forever.