Monday, December 6, 2010

A Reminder of Christmas

As I child I adored Christmas. It was my favorite holiday-from the eggnog and "Newman" exclusive Christmas molasses/date/cherry cookies to the colored lights and promise of something "magical" in the air. It was as much a religious observance as it was a commercial celebration in my parents' household. In addition to the Santa cookies, Christmas tree and presents, there was the advent wreath, the church services, and a Happy Birthday Jesus cake. No, I'm not kidding. That cake was something that got made no matter what-complete with white icing, red and green sprinkles and "Happy Birthday Jesus" spelled out in red and green lettering.

I've never really questioned why I celebrate Christmas or why I love it so much. Even after I'd moved back to Colorado and took on a paper route as a part-time job so I could buyout the lease on my car, I took the time to admire the lights each dark, cold morning. Maybe it was the crisp air, the Country Club neighborhood's extravagant displays, or the cookies and generous tips my customers would leave for me. Whatever it was, it was a piece of magic and joy that made me believe in possibility again at the age of 27.

Somewhere between 27 and 34, I again lost what I did in my late teens-the belief in possibility. You could also call it a spark, a light, a hope for something we can't quite see, touch, or explain. But even though we can't grasp it yet, we can feel it. We can feel its warmth throughout our soul as it carries us to imaginary visions of how our world might be.

Across from my townhome is an assisted living center. There is often a lot of traffic from the RN's and CNA's who have to park on our street in order to get to work each day, the delivery trucks delivering the home's necessary supplies, and the ambulances that drive into the parking lot with their blaring sirens when a resident decides it is time to pass.

Despite the bleakness of the reality that exists within its walls, the facility manages to put up lights and decorations around its landscape. From my upstairs living room window and across the courtyard you can see a string of yellow, green, red and blue on an evergreen fir. Until this past weekend, I just glanced at that string of lights as if they were there year round-as if they were nothing special.

Well, if I've learned anything in the past year it's that life has a funny way of returning you to reminders of what was once subjectively important. It's kind of the Universe's way of getting you back on track if you've become lost, I think. So there I was on a Sunday, trying to write my third article for the week and I suddenly became extremely disinterested in divulging on why Generation Y has the least amount of employee loyalty and satisfaction amongst today's working population.

I decided to go upstairs and do what I do best when my mind is tired of trying to accomplish something-lay down in a "cuddle and snuggle" with the dog and find a movie or two to lose myself in temporarily. The first one I chose was so awful that I fell asleep about 20 minutes in and wasn't the least bit sorry when I woke up at the end, just in time to see the last scene.

But the second was a tale about seeing light within the darkness and finding a way to share that light with others so that they can see the true nature of who they are. It was a tale of spreading inspiration, helping each other when it's needed the most, finding the meaning of love and hope again-exactly the way it should be.

That's why I've always been in love with Christmas. Not because of the gifts, or the candy, or the traditions, or what we think it might stand for. I love it because of its light-that magical combination of love and hope that keeps shining until it finds a way to make a difference inside our hearts.

The same way that string of red, white, blue, and green became more than an everyday vision viewed across a courtyard from inside a thermal windowpane. Those lights became an outer reflection of the goodness that has always existed behind the eyes. The goodness that will continue to exist, even after that string has been taken down and stored away until we need a reminder of its possibility.


  1. Hope is a wonderful and mighty thing...this is beautiful and inspirational Helen....i hope you have an amazing sounds like you will. :-)