I love this time of year, especially in the few days before Christmas when it’s common, and so enjoyable, to hear folks say “Merry Christmas” to each other. I love to say it, and I love to hear it. After all, it’s hard to be anything less than pleasant, even kindly, toward someone when you’re exchanging Merry Christmas greetings with them.
During this time, I try to take a deep breath, no matter how stressed I may feel, to just enjoy these moments. Next week, we’ll face a new year with unknown challenges and experiences, but for now, we can just smile and say “Merry Christmas,” and I hope, mean it.
It’s nice to get presents, receive cards and eat a lot, but it’s even nicer to enjoy an evening with your family and some time with your friends.
We had our family Christmas get-together Saturday and as I sat there, I remembered to take a deep breath then too, and look around at each of those family members who were present, and to remember those who were not.
My cousin Teresa, her husband Donald, and daughters Haley and Mary Kate, my niece Deserree and her children Lindsey, Brody and Nolan, and of course my husband, Charles, and our children Miranda and Zack were with us to celebrate Christmas. And this year, we welcomed a new member to our family, our son-in-law, Josh, who we love already.
More than anything else, this is the time to cherish those that are the loves of your life, the ones that sustain you and bring you joy in good times and in bad.
I cherish my dear friends – and I am blessed to have many who I love and wish the very best in the world for, and not just at Christmas. I hope you know who you are and that that I have told you how much you mean to me.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my pets – those “heartbeats at my feet.” They make our home, and our family, complete. I feel blessed to have them too, and not just at Christmastime.
This time, these days with each other are the very best gifts we can give – and who of us knows if we’ll be here next year?
I hope that as we count our blessings, we’ll also remember to hold out a hand to those in need – not just those with financial needs – but those who are lonely and in need of generosity – even if it’s just a kind word, or a pat on the back. Those gifts cost you nothing but a little humanity.
And finally, let’s remember the reason for the season. That’s why you’ll never hear me say the politically correct “Happy Holidays.”
A new year begins next week, but for now, it’s Christmas, and I wish you all joy and peace and the gift of kindness in this often cold world.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.