Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Wish

by Tammy Bundy

I remember when I was a little girl and I would always ask my dad what he wanted the most for Christmas. Every year it would be the same answer, “Peace on earth. Good will towards men”.
That seemed like a pretty tall order to fill for a kid. So I always bought him a package of handkerchiefs, instead.
It has only been recently, though, that I understand what my dad was getting at. The older I get the more I realize that “peace on earth and good will towards men” is not that outlandish of a request after all.
And we don’t even have to go to the Middle East to achieve it, either.
We could start with our very own family.
The other day my two youngest were at the store that sells everything for .99 cents. This is where they were doing their only Christmas shopping. After picking out most of their presents rather quickly, my boys asked me to hide my eyes while they searched for my gift. This proved to be a difficult task for the kid consumers. Finally, growing impatient with having to hide my eyes in public, I commented that I was sure they could find something I would like very much in the few minutes we had left, but could they please decide quickly. To that my little one announced, "But I don’t want to hurry, mommy---I want your gift to be the best one of them all.”
It will be many years before he will realize that the precious gift he did, indeed, give me this year did not come with a bar-code or price tag attached.
His words were wee steps towards peace on earth…good will towards men.
I had another reminder of my dad’s Christmas wish this holiday season when my kids and I went to visit our friend who is in a Retirement Center. We wanted to take her something special, but what could she possibly want or need?
We arrived with a Christmas sweatshirt that was gratefully accepted. But I didn’t feel that was quite it. Soon into our conversation, our elderly friend apologized for not being able to put up her decorations this year.
That was it.
That was all I needed.
Within fifteen minutes my kids and I had her room decorated from the meager two boxes of Christmas memories that we pulled from her closet.
Her tears of joy told us that this was the best present we could give her. We gave her ourselves.
Peace on earth. Good will towards men.
I think maybe my dad was on to something here.
Truthfully, this is something we all know but we push aside because it is actually easier for us to go to a store to find our presents than it is for us to go deep inside ourselves to find the gifts we possess within.
But let’s remember, after the sweatshirts and handkerchiefs are all opened, let’s decide to give a gift that only needs to be wrapped in our own arms.
Before the gifts of this special season give way to a memory once again, let us start giving gifts of the heart.
We can call it baby steps for peace on earth and good will towards men.
Let’s give each other the gift of our love.
It’s one size fits all.
And returns are not just allowed, they are absolutely encouraged.


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From The Book of Mom: What Parents know by heart published by St. Anthony Messenger Press
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