Some stories in our past are so good that they deserve to be celebrated, year after year. When we think of Christmas, many of us get caught up in the mania of expectations, gift giving and must-do lists for the season. I am one of them. But this year it occurred to me that what we are really doing in December is recreating a living story. Extending from the sacred birth story of Jesus, a collection of stories grows.
After the Wisemen gave gifts to baby Jesus, St. Nicholas gave gifts to good children everywhere. We, as the living Santa, give to all of our loved ones and to people we have never met. As I was thinking of the character I most identify with at Christmas, I realized that it's not the Virgin Mother but one of the unnamed Elves.
True to my Elfishness, I am short enough to wear child size clothing. Once at my daughter's elementary school, I was mistaken for a student. I am mostly invisible, which explains why children can't see me watching them during the holidays. I have a handmade toy business on Etsy and this year at least one child will be unwrapping something created from my imagination. I'm excited about that!
But even more exciting about the 2010 holiday season is that I am giving a special gift to my family. This season I am giving them the gift of my joy instead of my stress and misery. I am joyful because I realize that it is not up to me to recreate every Christmas story; I don't have to attempt a magical Dickensian holiday, or even the Christmas pasts of my childhood. This year, I am joyfully "reading" the story that my family and friends tell as they create their own version of Christmas "present".
Elliot has already received his first and possibly most beloved gift. On Saturday we welcomed into our family an eight month old Australian Sheppard named Ozzie. Ozzie is the only surviving member of his family. When his elderly owner passed away, his mother and siblings were left to fend for themselves for three months. It took rescuers several attempts to catch him. Now he is a lively, friendly dog with eyes that melt your heart and manners that put me to shame. I'm learning about the fantastic qualities of Aussies and appreciate that this new pet will be a joy to care for. Aside from chewing Elliot's video game chair on the first night, he's been perfect. He makes Elliot laugh from his gut, especially when he licks his cheeks and ears.
Emily is in love with a very sweet young man named David. It has been wonderful to have him visit. My house is full and bustling and this makes me happy!
We have some plans with our friends, plans for worship services with our church, and an annual New Year's Eve event in Raleigh.
We are making our own story and together it is full of little dramatic moments but also regular everyday moments of boredom and anticipation.
I have so much to be thankful for this year and every year. May your season be a story of joy that fills your heart and carries you like Santa's sleigh, right into the New Year.