As the hymn says, "Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh..."
It's not exactly night right now, but the holiday is definitely winding down. The presents are unwrapped; the ham, potatoes and yams are in the oven; wrapping paper and bows are strewn across the house; and the kids are all occupied with either naps or their Christmas treasures.
It's a good feeling.
I admit that there were moments leading up to this day that I doubted I could pull it off, what with two surgeries in the last two weeks. And in fact some traditions had to be put aside. The family picture that was supposed to grace our Christmas cards was scheduled to be taken the day Natalie planted her face into a tree. Various new ideas for a clever card never turned into a finished product. Same with gifts for friends and coworkers.
I did manage to purchase and wrap enough toys for under the tree to keep the kids happy, and bake enough goodies to keep their bellies full. That in itself is a small miracle. But over the last couple of days my mind has repeatedly gone to the greetings I didn't send; and the people I love who didn't receive them.
And so I'd like to take a moment before setting the table and cleaning up that gift wrapping to send a wish to you all, I just hope I can put my thoughts into proper words.
I'm sure you've heard the wish that every day could be Christmas. That's not the wish I have for you--but it begins the explanation. I know this will sound strange, but in one way this past year has been like Christmas every day. Not that there's anything festive about cancer treatment. Or something I'd wish to do every day. But I don't think a day has passed in the last year that I haven't been the recipient of at least one act of kindness.
Some days I'm overwhelmed by the number and amount of good things that have been done for my benefit: tangible gifts like jewelry, flowers, home decor, and of course food. Lot's and lot's of comfort food. Then there's the messages--by phone, by mail, by foot, by text, by email, by Facebook they come; offering encouragement and love. And I can't forget the prayers. I could never forget the prayers.
I remember one friend apologizing for not calling me when she got the news. "I didn't know what to say," she said. But then she continued, "And so I just prayed."
"You did exactly the right thing," I told her. And it was true. I can't explain the feeling of knowing that hundreds of prayers are going up to the heavens on your behalf. But it truly buoys you up at a time that you know you should feel your very lowest, but instead it feels as though the hands of God are literally cradling you.
And so, with that explanation, this is what I wish for you, my friend: I wish that each of you would take a moment this season to realize and appreciate your magnificence. Yes, yours--not your children's or your spouses or your neighbor's, but yours. And I'm talking about the person you are today--not the one you hope to become after you figure out how to organize your time or lose a few pounds or stop getting mad at the kids. That person might be fabulous too, but the person you are on this day is truly amazing.
I can say this with assurance because I have witnessed and felt your truly caring nature. I know from experience that you carry the light of Christ within you. You are not only born in the image of God, but you are a beautiful emulation of Him. Your love and concern for your fellow man is as tangible as the gifts given on Christmas day.
I can never say thank you enough to those who have been helpful to me throughout the course of my treatment. It boggles my mind to even think about it. And maybe after Christmas I'll get around to sending out a proper greeting. In the meantime, this wish will have to do.
Merry Christmas, my dear friends! And Happy New Year!