A pause in the middle of Christmastime

Published 7:34 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2018

By now, I am sure most of you are knee deep in glitter, checking “to do” lists, menu Planning and wrapping gifts.  By now,  you have listened to “Santa Baby” and “Jingle Bells” so many times the only ringing you hear is in your ears.  And, if your spouse asks you one more time, “What do you want for Christmas?” a bona fide Frosty meltdown might occur.

The days before Christmas can put us all in a tailspin when holiday time seems to jump into warp speed. Every year before we know it, Santa is landing in a heap on the living room floor begging for cookies you forgot to bake.

Yes, during these busy times we long for a moment to settle our brains down for that long winter nap and wonder if the peace and joy heralded in those carols somehow forgot to stop at our house. 

I can plan for Christmas for 11 months, and as sure as Rudolph’s nose is bright, I am never quite together for his sleigh to arrive Christmas Eve. And, for North Pole’s sake, don’t throw me a cold, virus, flu or any other malady which might disrupt my schedule any further causing an absolute disaster.

Well, sometimes when you threaten fate, fate will give you a nasty case of bronchitis like it has given yours truly. My cough is so horrible my snow village has turned off their lights and closed the doors, and my stuffed Santa in the foyer is wearing a mask.

Yes, bad timing in the middle of warp speed. 

When Christmas bumps in the road happen, I figure most of the time there is a higher purpose at work as to why.  We may never find what the intent was, but today I did.   

I was so tired from lack of sleep because, of course, my hacking loves to perform at night and keep the dogs howling, that I succumbed to a mid-morning crash on the sofa.  My hustle and bustle spirit were busted.

I turned on the television, got a blanket, and watched the funeral service for President George Herbert Walker Bush. 

As I listened to the eulogies and the respectful accolades, I was reminded that our lives are not at all measured by how we voted, or how much money was in the bank, or what position in life we held.  A truly productive and successful life is judged by how much we loved and served our family, our friends and our country.

Former Secretary of State, James Baker, comforted his best friend by rubbing his feet minutes before the former president took his last breath.  President Bush’s children gathered and told stories of a man whose greatness was established by his kindness, his laughter and his love.  And, because this patriarch led by example, he taught them loyalty to God, family, friends and country was far more important than popularity. 

All of us should pause for a moment during this festive time and prioritize our “to do” list.   Perhaps it is the time of year to quiet our rhetoric and instead hear only the sounds of “Silent Night.”   Maybe instead of worrying about baking Santa’s cookies, we should buy him a package of Oreos and use the saved hours to drop off goodies at the food bank.  Maybe just for a moment, we brush off our glitter covered knees and kneel in prayer thanking God for sending his son to teach us what greatness really means. 

In the years ahead, no one will remember which Christmas I gave the expensive sweater to Uncle John or recall the rich, three-tiered cake I slaved over for two days.  They will forget the fancy paper, the custom Christmas cards or how much glitter was missed with the vacuum.

What will be recalled is how we held a friend’s hand through the rough days or rubbed their feet to ease their pain. 

What will not be forgotten  is how much we loved those who looked to us for guidance and comfort.

We will be remembered by the precious memories we created for others.  What will be recalled is how our “to do” list always began with thankful prayer.

And, when our busy days are over, and the clock is winding down, what God will remember is how much we loved each other, and the precious gift he sent on that magical Christmas night long ago.