Last night, I sat in the dark with nothing but a candle lit and the Christmas tree lights on.
I squinted and the lights looked like colored stars that might otherwise have shined out into the night.
Each ornament a memory, a celebration of a time and a place. Christmas cards with holiday greetings and blessings of the new year hang nearby, a reminder of friends near and far.
The smell of the pine mixed with the scent of the candle filled my senses, and I could hear the carols from a radio in another room. I felt surrounded by the spirit of Christmas and the true celebration of its tidings of peace and joy.
This year, the greatest gift I could have gotten was seeing the generosity, compassion, love, and appreciation in people as my mother’s health declined and finally ended.
To witness genuine nurturing between two people whose only thing in common is that they are sharing the same space under one roof for a few hours, was a testament, to me, of how much you can love and take care of a stranger. Eye color, skin color, religion, and ethnicity gets stripped away until all that is left are the two hearts, which beat the same.
I think it was especially poignant this year because my mother’s passing was on the eve of Christmas eve, and my focus was simply on caring for her. No holiday department store sale could touch me.
My Christmas gift from God, if you will, was seeing and being reminded of our deep capacity to love and care for one another, with no attachments, no “What’s in it for me,” kind of thing.
I plan to take this gift and do my best to share it with friends and family and strangers alike, throughout the coming year, and not let it stop at Christmas or with my mother’s passing.
The ultimate pay it forward, if you will.
Won’t you share it with me?