A Blessed Christmas
Every once in awhile, if we are fortunate, we experience a Christmas that is perfect in every way. Christmas 2004 was such a year for me.
The neighborhood was full of the Christmas spirit long before Christmas Day. One cold december morning, we were thrilled to find out that we had won first prize in the outdoor lighting contest. Christmas carolers strolled through the neighborhood, spreading cheer as they visited every home. Neighbors and friends stopped by to visit, to exchange holiday greetings and share a cup of hot cider while warming themselves in front of the brightly lit fireplace.
Our home was full of the smells of Christmas; the tree was decorated with ornaments old and new and bright red personalized stockings were hanging from the mantle. I had been baking for weeks; the kitchen counter was laden with Christmas goodies just waiting to be eaten. Hot chocolate and cider simmered on the stove as we waited for the arrival of my son and his family. My son married late in life and the long awaited newborn grandchild would soon be introduced to us for the first time. Alex, our three year old grandson came into our lives when Jerry married Cortney.
Suddenly, Cortney called excitedly from the front door, "Special Delivery for Gramma!" As I took Morgan Grace in my arms for the first time, I wept with joy. I looked down at her beautiful face, seeing the geneology of 100 years looking back at me. My son's sparkling blue eyes twinkled, the cute button nose was her mother's. When I looked closely, I saw my grandmother's dresden complexion that she so prized and the burnished red hair that my father and I shared. My heart swelled with pride as Morgan reached for my hand, looked me over carefully and patted my face gently. I could almost hear her say, "I don't know you yet, but I think we are going to be great friends." Holding her close to me, I knew my most precious Christmas gift had arrived early this year.
Christmas morning was perfect. A rambunctious 3 year old happily tore open his gifts with glee! In the background was the soft cooing of the grandaughter who had already captured our hearts. Laughter and excitement rang through the house as everyone exchanged gifts. While Alex played with his toys, the adults gathered in the kitchen for coffee and homemade sweetbreads. I found my son in the living room, looking in awe at the nativity, I stood for a quiet moment by his side . When he spoke, he almost whispered, "Mother, thank you for giving the Holy Family the place of honor in your home."
I remember fondly the time spent with each member of the family. Close moments of sharing with my daughter-in-law, reading to Alex as he pressed his warm little body close to mine. I spent much of my time holding and rocking Morgan as I sang to her the same Irish lullabies my mother sang to me as a babe.
I'll always remember that Christmas; it was a Christmas about new beginnings, happiness and unconditional love. The best gifts I received that year were not under the tree, but were handed to me, with tenderness, wrapped in bows of promise, tied together with gossamer ribbons of love.
Copyright December 24th, 2005
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