I’m sitting up in my bed right now. It’s Christmas Day, 2017 at 9:55 p.m. Today was a day filled with excitement, anticipation, laughter, and tears. The last part of my sentence, the tears that were shed today, is something I will cherish for a long time.
You see, the tears weren’t sadness, but of gratitude…being thankful for relationships. In our family, like most families, we have lost loved ones, and each year that we realize our loved ones have left something for us, specifically during the holidays, we become closer and closer to each other. For example, I spent the day with my sister, her husband and their three sons and their significant others. Our oldest sister and her daughter and grandson spent the day as well. As well laughed and ate, and reveled in the beautiful giving process of gifts, we began to talk about how relationship building is important in a family.
The moment we begin to cherish the family and build a relationship with one another in the family, the better a support system will help us in the long run.It is dangerous to separate yourself from your family. The holiday season’s reason isn’t meant to just give gifts, but it is to give of yourself to those that you love. The family participated in adopting two families for Christmas – families we did not know. These families are struggling because they are either starting over in life, or they need extra help. Both families have small children, but the beauty is that they are trying to build a relationship with their children. One mother told me that despite her sordid past, she is trying to do better by her children, the right way. She sat them down and told them that the “easy money” to give tons of Christmas presents was no longer a reality. The reality was that she couldn’t afford Christmas presents, but they were to get some help and support. It is times like this when we see the strength of the family unit.
During the dark days of the holiday season in 1986, my mother was in a coma. She had a leak from an aneurysm in her brain. I remember one cold night, my father gathered us in the middle of the living room, had us all hold hands and told us, before he prayed, that if there is a weak link within the family, we need to repair it at that moment. A weak link. We were emotionally weak, but my dad was speaking on a higher level than the obvious. He was a God-fearing man, but he was determined to strengthen us in order for our prayers to be heard and strengthen my mother. I cherished that night because it is something I ask myself whenever there is a difficult situation that faces me. I strengthen that “weak link” inside of me either through prayer, meditation, or just talking to someone who is stronger than I am at the moment.
Yes, today, the gift I truly cherished was not wrapped up in a beautiful holiday-themed paper, or colorful Christmas bags — it was the unity and togetherness of family during Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day.
The true meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown?
Cherish your family. Cherish the love. Cherish the joy. Cherish every aspect of the family unit!