Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas - I Look for a Reason to Believe

I look for a reason to believe.

Thanksgiving brought gift ideas stuffed in a newspaper that weighed more than the turkey. No sooner did amen conclude grace, than the hunt began for more things. I searched and searched the ads without finding the meaning of Christmas. I needed to look for something else. Instead of thinking of what to buy, I need to ask myself why.

On a cold snowy morning a basket and reusable bag filled with apples, oranges, bananas, walnuts, fresh baked bread, cookies and fudge, a ham, potatoes, carrots, and Clementine’s, dropped off anonymously, lay upon the doorstep of a childhood family of modest means. A short-term need filled. More importantly, the surprise gift instilled a lifelong feeling of gratitude in a child.

The hospital’s children ward took on a disco glow as red, and green lights flashed against the white walls. Yet the pain, discomfort, and worries lay sullen across the halls. “Long ago, the stars guided the way to a magical place”, the storyteller began. The voice, the tale, imagination, believability, all conspired like a magic carpet ride, to bring each child around the world to a painless and worry free embrace.   

“Alone is the saddest experience you will ever know, one is the loneliest number”. The lyrics echo in nursing homes. Story Corps ( offers suggestions to ask, like “who was your best childhood friend, did you ever get in trouble as a child, did you have a nickname, and how did you get it?” Ask questions to dispel loneliness. Ask questions to revitalize one, back to a formidable befriended number.

Craft fairs overflow with Vermont handiwork, handmade mittens, gloves, hats, sweaters and scarves, pendants, bird boxes, jams, jewelry. Many of these items are grown, baked, built, sewed, knitted, crafted by hand- pure Vermont ingenuity. Local products often come with a story told by the artisan, defining the transformation of raw material into the gem you hold in your hand. That exchange alone brings Christmas closer to home.

I looked for a reason to believe, that giving can reflect the meaning of Christmas.  I discovered that those with the least are the easiest to please, and the rewards of pleasing them, the greatest. Why do we have the desire to give-human connection, tradition, caring? Each of us needs to answer for ourselves. Once we know why, then we can explore what we have to give. The most valuable and appreciated gifts are found inside our hearts, in the giving of our time and talents, and close to home.

This just in, a message from Santa, hoo hoo hoo, you know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But, did you know, that even the most famous reindeer of all, mistake pieces of plastic for their food? Reindeer with a bellyache on Christmas Eve, ohh, I dread to think of it.  Vermonters, with your community so bright, won’t you keep littered trash cleaned up and out of sight? Then all the reindeer will love you and shout out with glee.

Merry Christmas

To and for my wife, I strive for understanding and compassion. 

TY Chris for sending the following:

“Christmas Gift Suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”
— Oren Arnold