Christmas comes but once a year, and for this fact, I am truly grateful. It’s wonderful that so many good vibrations seem to find their way to you, I truly wish the goodness could be gifted upon us all throughout the year. I mean, how much smiling can one cynic take in such a concentrated dose! Perhaps that little slice of the not-so-nice helps me to keep the good stuff in perspective.
I had the privilege of being able to share Christmas with my whole family this year. It truly was a blessing from God.
How different things are now, looking through my middle-aged eyes. Let’s rewind a couple of generations to when I was a boy.
When I was young I remember anticipating the “big event”. We rug rats were on our best behaviour, hoping it would eradicate all the mischief and mayhem we created for ourselves the other 51 weeks of the year. Santa would surely overlook the day you tried to make your sister eat dog leavings. And yes, there was that time you insisted your all-knowing parents accept your story about how that blown light socket came to be. It was merely a by-product of Keebler Elves innocently attempting to teach you the basics of electrical safety.
Yeah…”Santa” surely bought that “angelic child” act. Riiiggggt.
So, the big day arrives. The child collective all rise up in a rare alliance with a single mission; implore their sleep deprived parents to allow them to descend upon the brilliantly coloured bounty lying beneath that needle-dropping fire hazard one floor below. With half conscious parents in tow, the shred brigade begin their acts of violence upon the once carefully wrapped items intended for them. If you were anything like me as a kid, socks, underwear, clothes, hand-made Phentex items made with love from an aunt all went flying across the room. Your quest had yet to reward you with your version of the Holy Grail.
Suddenly you spot a box…just about the right size. Could it be? YESSSSS, it is.
When the fall TV season commenced, so did the annual “brain washing” campaign. Ad after tantalizing ad implored that Saturday morning participant that if you didn’t have that G.I. Joe with Kung Fu grip or that Barbie Dream Space Shuttle, you’d surely be relegated to the D-List at your school. So your own campaign began. Slow and sure won the race, so little hints (most likely thinly veiled demands) were meted out over the next few weeks. Then, because time was growing shorter, in around November, the campaign on TV ramped up to stage-two alert. And you can bet your own personal vendetta against your parents sanity did as well. With each week’s count down towards December 25th a child would roll out their best material. There would be tears. There would be imploring looks and there would be tantrums. As you got older, you’d finesse your attacks to include guilt and joy.
Your poor parents never stood a chance.
So you rip open the crown jewel brought to you from the good folks at Acme toy co. In fact, all kids involved were attacking anything red or green, much like a school of piranha strip down a helpless elephant in a feeding frenzy. You find yourself full of joy when the last shred of paper falls to the floor. There he is. He’s tall, self-assured and ready to wage war on Big Jim. And man, does his magnifying eyeball ever work! Santa nailed it. You’re momentarily grateful you managed to impress the old guy enough so that he’d look away from the bad grades in math as well as putting your cat in the dryer. Today…you get to be bionic when you savage Barbie and her friends.
You don’t notice it then, but looking back, you could see a sense of satisfaction on the faces of your parents. That, more than anything you received that day, stays with you as you grow older.
When you hit a certain age, it’s no longer important to you who gave you what. It’s the gift that knowing they thought enough about you to give you anything at all that keeps your smile planted upon your face. The sheer joy of being able to hug your Ma, or cut up and make silly comments with your Dad. Those are the things you keep with you. Love, it seems, is the greatest gift of all, as schmaltzy as that reads. The microwave you got this year will someday fade from memory, but the moment you saw that look upon the face of a loved one as they saw the look upon yours…that’s beyond priceless.
It’s my wish that every person reading this today, or possibly in the future take a moment out of their lives, and remember that feeling of pure joy with another. It doesn’t have to be Christmas. But it does have to to make you grin broadly in the act of remembrance.
And remember, we are all on loan to one another. Today’s smile is all that truly matters in the grand scheme of things. Try to give the gift of mirth to a person in need. It is the greatest gift any of us can give.
I wish you, my readers, an amazing New Year in 2012. And I hope I can give you the gift of a smile with my words.
Peace and Love