I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. -Charles Dickens
The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. -Pierre Corneill
Christmas is the day that holds all time together. -Alexander Smith
image via Lenka Pumanov
It’s true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you’ll find you’ve created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul. -Caroline Kennedy
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. -Burton Hillis
God bless us, everyone. –Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Images via Matt Nolt and Lenka Pumanov
I wish for no one to break any bones.
In my son’s Kindergarten class, each child thought of one Christmas wish for everyone in the world. They wrote their wishes on construction paper ornaments and displayed them in the window of their classroom.
I stood in front of that window for a long time reading each wish, all the while feeling my heart swell.
I wish for everyone to have a good family.
I wish for everyone to have toys.
I wish for everyone to have presents.
I wish for everyone to have a house.
I wish for everyone to have food.
I wish for everyone to be loved.
I wish for everyone to have a happy life.
There is something about this time of year that truly reveals the tenderness of humanity. We give toys and clothes to people who can’t afford them. We cook and buy food for people who are hungry. We donate money to charities that do the kind of work the world really needs.
There’s an upswing of do-gooding and that is certainly a great thing.
Of course, there’s the frenzy and the chaos and the surge of superficiality too.
And it’s easy to get caught up in all of the static. Or in my case, all of the plastic.
But there’s also something about this season that reminds us to take care of each other, to help each other, and to make good wishes for each other.
And we try to teach our kids to do the same thing.
We try to remind them to appreciate. We try to give them perspective. We try to open their eyes. We try to make big reveals.
But I often find myself feeling guilty that I’m not doing enough.
It’s my job to plant those seeds. It’s my job to instill that perspective. It’s my job to remind them, to reveal things to them, and to teach them what is really important.
But standing there, reading those wishes on the window, I had a big reveal of my own.
Our kids already get it.
They are born with benevolent and generous hearts. They understand compassion and kindness and good will for all. They tend toward tenderness. They are soft and sympathetic and selfless.
They want everyone to be happy. To have food. To have a home. To have a good family. To have a good life.
They get it. They don’t have the years behind them that generally earn perspective and insight, but they still get it.
They get it because they’ve always had it.
We all have always had it.
So maybe we stop trying so hard to plant the seeds. And instead we search for the good heart that’s already there in all of us.
Of course sometimes that good heart gets a little bogged down with the mud and the fluff, but it’s still there.
And that day, those kids taught me that I need to appreciate it. They gave me perspective. They opened my eyes. They made a big reveal.
That day was a gentle reminder to seek out and celebrate our good, good hearts.
So even though my kid wants Santa to bring him transformers and shrinky dinks, he also wants no one in the world to break any bones.
And that’s enough to make for a Merry Christmas all year long.