The greatest Christmas gift to receive is not the latest DVD, high-tech gadget or newest toy. It is not that long awaited diamond bracelet or new set of golf clubs. A person does not have to be happy, rich or healthy, as even the sad, poor and sick can enjoy this gift. I believe the greatest Christmas gift that anyone can receive is a smile.
Some years ago, a family event happened in my life that left me feeling very depressed during the holiday season. I was leaving Christmas mass and was just going through the motions of exchanging holiday greetings with my fellow parishioners, trying to make my way through the crowd, when the priest, who was at the door, greeted me. He had the biggest, warmest smile on his face. He grabbed my hand, stared at my face for a moment, and gave me a brief hug. He wished me a Merry Christmas, and then moved onto the next person behind me. Unknown to him, his simplistic smile and hug instantly lifted my spirits. I firmly believe that God knew what I needed that day.
Last night I helped a family decorate a Christmas tree. This may not seem like much, but they had not put up a Christmas tree for several years because one, they had very little space for a tree, and two, they are never home on Christmas day. Because they have two small children, I told them this year they were going to put one up and they could enjoy it in the time before and after Christmas day. I took a little three-foot tree (the one I dubbed as my Charlie Brown tree), some lights and decorations over to their house and we all decorated it. Everyone helped, the two children, mom, grandma and aunt, and that little tree turned into one of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen. The smiles on their faces were the best gift I have ever received. We turned out all the lights and just marveled at the colorful illumination.
After helping with the tree decorating, I stopped by my two-year old granddaughter’s house to give her back her Mr. Snowman. She had a pillow in the shape of a snowman head that had lost its eyes and knowing that I sew, she asked me to “fix it.” I had taken it home and had sewn on some black buttons for eyes. When I handed it to her, she looked at it for a second, studying its new eyes. She looked up at me and I watched as a huge smile slowly grew on her face. It is the sweetest smile I have ever seen.
I have several personal Christmas traditions that I observe, such as daily prayers during advent, wearing a different Christmas pin every day, and now a new one, counting the smiles I receive.
Merry Christmas to all my family, friends and fans.