Christmas is upon us. What a wonderful time of year. I only wish that people reacted in June the way they do in December.
Today is Wednesday, December 8th. In exactly 17 days from now at this very moment, presents will all be opened at my house and there will be a mess of torn wrapping paper on the floor, coffee brewing and a flurry of "getting ready" going on as we prepare to go to my parent's house for Christmas dinner, gifts and a wonderful day with my mother and father, my husband and son, my daughter and son-in-law and my baby brother and his wife. By the way, today is his 46th birthday, but I will always call him my "baby" brother.
My trees have been up since November 20th. I've only re-decorated them once or twice each. Amazing, that's a new record. I am not your average tree "putter-upper". I go for the look that would easily put my trees in competition with the very best Tree Festival tree any day of the week. So, once or twice each even impresses me.
This year, I scaled back a lot. I used to put up a tree in every room. Friends and family thought I was a little "touched" in the head with the excess, but the look and feel of Christmas in every room in my house made each day a little brighter, made me smile and brought happiness. I have discovered that as I get a little older, I look more and more to simplifying things. Less stress, less mess. That's okay, though, to date, my daughter has put up 4 full size trees in her house and wants to do more. Mini-me, start to finish. She makes me proud every day, but then, you already knew that. My son is wrapping up another quarter at school and yes, he makes me proud every day, but you already knew that as well. A mother's heart should always be full of love and pride over her children's accomplishments, no matter how big or small they may seem. Even in the negative, there is a positive and we should always look for that. Sooner or later, just maybe we will quit seeking out the negatives altogether. Wouldn't that be awesome if we could do that with every person we come in contact with, every day? Expectations, we should all always expect the best. I think I may have just contradicted myself.
This past weekend, I celebrated my 57th birthday and I had such a wonderful time. My best fella took me out to dinner, we did some Christmas and birthday shopping (for me), spent time with my folks and went to look at Christmas lights. Everything that I wanted to do, happened. Isn't that a blessing! My Sunday night ended with a drive through the live nativity at the church we attend. It too, was wonderful.
Have you ever been blessed by the presence of an Angel, an actual Angel? On Sunday, I was and there are not enough words to tell you wonderful it was. My mother and I stopped for lunch at Wendy's. The lobby was filled with the sounds of Christmas. I love Christmas music. I wish they would play it year round! Out of the corner of my eye, he appeared and the smile that he put on my face was warm and appreciative of his efforts and his pureness in spirit as he handled his tasks. My Angel was an older gentlemen that was special needs. He has worked for this particular store for over ten years. His duties, simply to greet guests as they arrive and thank them when they leave, but also to keep the tables cleaned up. My Angel tackled his job so seriously. How many times have we all looked down our noses at someone that was performing what we thought to be such a menial task? I have, and I would imagine that many of you have as well.
My mother and I talked and ate, and every few seconds, we noticed that someone was singing Christmas carols along with the music that was piped into the store. No, they weren't necessarily in tune all of the time, and sometimes the words weren't right, but they were sincere and passionate from the heart and full of so much love, it made me tear up when I looked at him. We ate, he greeted, he thanked and he sang and sang and sang. It couldn't have been any more beautiful and meaningful if it had been a full choir singing perfect harmony.
His harmony was in his head, his love and simple devotion came straight from his heart and on my special day, he gave me a gift that I won't ever, ever forget. We take so much for granted, don't we.
So, as you approach the holidays, no matter how you celebrate, know that there are truly Angels in Disguise out there walking amongst us. Maybe it's the man on the corner holding up a sign asking for food or money. Possibly the child that has nothing because parents might be out of work or they've lost their home due to foreclosure. Maybe, it's the family that is living in a shelter for the same reasons. Or quite possibly, it may just very well be the special needs gentlemen that does a wonderful job greeting, thanking and cleaning tables at your local fast food restaurant.
Do me a favor. I know money is tight for most of us, but don't take people for granted. If all you have is a quarter in your pocket, share it. If you leave your house or your job with a chip on your shoulder, take a look at that person in layers and layers of dirty clothes standing on the corner and count your blessings. When you hear that out of tune carol being sung, don't make fun of the crooner, but close your eyes and thank God above for that person being put in your path at that very moment, because, maybe, just maybe, that person is an Angel in Disguise, put there just for you, to help you remember what it is really all about.
God bless each and every one of you, Merry Christmas and love to all. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I just want to wish Him a Happy Birthday and thank Him so much for that Angel that He put there just for me! I hope that you find one too.
Christmas blessings, Christmas memories all because of one perfect baby born to wear a crown of thorns.
I send prayers of Peace and love for all of you in the mighty name of that sweet, sweet baby, Jesus Christ!