The cold rain patters loudly on my picture window and the occasional strong gust of wind howls, announcing the arrival of December.
I’m wrapped tightly in one of my mother’s handmade quilts, watching the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movies. The dog lies at my feet, dreaming, and the cat naps soundly on a coffee table next to me, curled up to conserve warmth.
I came home to an early Christmas miracle of a sort, this evening. After an afternoon of shopping and a stop at my favorite coffee shop, I arrived home to find my Christmas tree fully decorated. This was the first time ever, in my twenty-some years as a mom.
I marvel the kindness of my son and his girlfriend, who took into their own hands decorating the tree for me. I also laugh, when I see that his girlfriend prominently displayed my youngest son’s childhood ornaments in front, leaving his brother’s ornaments for the sides and back.
As I burrow deeper under my quilt, I reflect on past Christmases, like I always do this time of year. With my youngest child on the cusp of independence, I wonder how much longer until my house is devoid of socks on the living room floor, the sound of the key in the front door lock late at night and the crinkle of chip bags opening at midnight.
Yes, Christmas time is here, and soon I’ll be stringing garland about the house, hanging Christmas stockings for St. Nick, and baking my famous Caramel-filled Snickerdoodles.
And this year, a renewed focus on what’s important.
Not only do I focus on the birth of Jesus, but also the gathering of family, the traditions, and the thought of others as I select each gift with them in mind.
I know Christmas time can get hectic and stressful at times, especially when we try to do too much. This year, after the struggles I have faced in dealing with cancer, I’ve learned to sincerely concentrate on the important things. Don’t let it take an event like that to open your eyes, too.
So, my friends, should you find yourself stressed or overwhelmed, take a moment to pause, close your eyes and breathe in. Be thankful for yet another year, another Christmas surrounded by those you love, and let your hearts begin to truly enjoy the season.