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My Mind’s Awhirl But My Heart is Full

Christmas. The thought of which brings delight and gleeful anticipation in children. And the mention of which makes adults shudder. Christmas. The season about which peoples of the world, from many religions, and from all walks of life, have something to say. Christmas. A boon or a bust for commerce. And alas, a sure boon for scammers and hackers.

It is no accident the air and TV waves are inundated by touching accounts and photos of misery and hopelessness. Sales and offers come fast and furious. All designed to tug at hearts and consciences and stomachs blessed with comfort and means. And all designed to make you part with your cash, if not willingly then guiltily.

What a harsh indictment of the “happiest season of all.” The reason for the season, Christ’s birth, is all but buried under the weight of secular and hedonistic pursuits.

Yet every year, despite the antipathy to the frenzy Christmas brings, we get whipped up in that frenzy just the same. We complain about the lack of peace and time for rest. But we get excited planning perfect gifts to loved ones. We get excited Putting up Christmas decorations that would falalalala deck our halls.

When I was young, Christmas held a magical time that came but once a year. I could hardly contain my excitement and gleeful anticipation of the wonderful day. Santa was an important part of that joy, but the little girl me woke up on Christmas day and saw the world transformed into a happy friendly place. There was a rosy glow to the sunshine on that day. Smiles and greetings were freely given. Merry it was indeed.

When I became a wife and mother, I allowed the mania to get to me. The house had to sparkle. The trees (I had four at one time) took two weeks of my waking moments to trim. The hollies and southern magnolias Mitch planted from twigs had grown healthy and lush. Branches and leaves filled the house. I thanked them for their mute generosity and wished them another year of healthy growth. I felt guilty as heck for it was a selfish hope.

We hosted parties. I became, if not entirely cool and collected, resigned to the certainty of something marring my “perfect” soirees. Not everything followed my script, silly me. However, it took practice and patience from my family before I developed that sangfroid.

Times change, and the reality of downsizing has realigned priorities. Grandchildren need space to run and play. (This comment was from one of our grandsons. “No offense Lolo, but there is almost nothing to do at your place.” No offense taken, dear one.)

I have gladly turned over the hosting baton to my daughters. They lead. We follow. And our sons-in-law are game enough to accommodate the madness five rambunctious kids generate. We have enough practice. We hold weekly Sunday family dinners. We take our hats off and appreciate our oldest daughter and her husband for hosting all of us.

Our family has gone through much. Serious illness has become an all-consuming anxiety. We hold our collective breaths and heave sighs of relief every time good news trickle in. Health still dominates the Lopez family concern, but we are grateful we have a doctor who allays our worst fears and injects (all pun intended) reason and hope.

Christmas. A time when we come together as a complete family. Our son and his girlfriend will fly in to make merry even merrier. Our hearts are full. Christ is born. The Lord has come. Thank you, Lord.

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