When you woke from sleep this morning were you glad that it was the day after Christmas or were you sad to see it gone so quickly? When I got up the house was quiet, I made a pot of coffee and turned on all the Christmas lights on the trees, the mantle, the hearth and the upstairs banisters. It was heavenly to sit and watch them twinkle knowing that the only thing I needed to do was wait for my coffee to finish, which only takes three minutes in my wonderful Bunn coffee pot, and push back in the recliner for a few moments of reflection.
It was a different kind of Christmas here, I had expected as much but the actuality of it was in another way a kind of surprise. I guess I hadn’t realized that everyone was here last year because my dad would be sitting at the head of the table. Maybe they heft the urgency of his age and wanted to be here for him, I am glad they were for it meant the world to him to have his family around. He never contributed much to the conversation, just sat and tried to keep up with our animated banter but he was the one who blessed the food and the day and prayed for any requests the family might have. I mentioned in a post a few days back that I was going to complete a mission that I thought had been carried out last year. Yesterday morning, as I write, I got up and went into his office where you can still feel his presence, his Bible laying open to the last page he opened it to read from, Daniel chapter 4. I walked past his chair at the computer and went to sit at a little table on the other side of the office and had a little conversation with him. I told him what I was going to do and asked for his guidance on it. Without having to stop and think I knew what to do, I got the cards and envelopes with his name on them and wrote the name of my two siblings and the grandchildren on them, and then I placed what he told me to put there, sealed them with a small red sticky heart which I found in his stationary drawer and when I had finished I felt the release that I had done the right thing and took the little stack downstairs to be delivered to each one as they came by for a visit or a meal. Our normally raucous house was quiet for the first part of the day and Christmas lunch was a pretty rag-tag affair as I was cooking a big dinner for later when everyone would be here.
I thought about how many of you had written me sweet notes, sent flowers, gifts and other remembrances of my birthday and my heart was warmed that people, a lot that I have never formally met, would care enough to do that for me and I felt blessed. I realized that I had made it possible for daddy to give out his gifts and be physically remembered because of it and I felt humbled. Some of the family didn’t make it by, some were here for only a few moments, but I know that in heaven my dad smiled at knowing he had a hand in making their Christmas a little more merry.
I understand his need to give, it has become my highest pleasure in life to do the unexpected, to give where I see a need, to try to make life more pleasant for someone. It isn’t really altruistic; it is rather selfish because it makes me feel so good.
To be like Jesus is to offer a helping hand, to be the person who is willing to be the “good Samaritan” when you see someone in need, to be kind to a child or the elderly that cannot help themselves. I read on a sign somewhere a saying that went something like this; “A really kind deed is to do something for someone knowing they will never be able to pay you back.” That might not be an exact quote but close enough for you to get the idea. I think that might be the true spirit of Christmas after all. Happy New Year