Christmas Present

Rising quietly from the bed as not to wake her, I dress in the dark and make my way to the door. I open it and walk into the hallway. On the bedroom wall, I watch the dim light shining in from the living room narrow and then disappear as I lightly close the door.

As I make the short walk from our bedroom to the living room, the light brightens. It’s 3 o’clock on Christmas morning and the lights on the tree have been on all night. I walk over to it and stare.

Angels. There are lots of angels. Many are glass and handblown. They are fragile and beautiful. Some are gifts from her family, others she acquired herself.

I stare at the bubble lights. Shaped like a candle that sits in a holder, the bubble lights still mesmerize me as much as they did five decades ago when I was a child. Tiny bubbles shoot toward the top of the glass cylinder from what seems to be an endless supply.

For a moment in my mind, I’m once again five-years-old, standing in footed pajamas and looking at the cedar my father hand cut in the forest and brought home in the back of his 1952 Chevrolet truck. The tree is covered with lights, but also with handmade decorations that I crafted in Sunday School.

Back in the moment, my eyes move to the red ribbons, which are carefully tied to the tree limbs. Their concave reflection in the golden round ornaments accentuates the intricate and unique patterns of each ribbon.

I turn and head for the kitchen and plug in the percolator. As it begins to make the sound that only a 60-year-old percolator does, I put on my heavy coat, gloves, and hat, and exit the back door. Loading my arms with as much firewood as I can carry, I reenter the house and carefully stack each piece on the hearth. The embers from the Christmas Eve fire are enough to easily reignite a new blaze.

I carefully load each piece of wood into the stove, close and latch the door, and watch through the glass as the blaze begins to flicker and then roar.

In the kitchen, the light on the percolator glows. I pour a cup of black coffee and settle into my chair. The cat leaps into my lap, and we both take a moment. She to curl up and begin dozing, and me to reflect on all of my blessings.

I say a word of thanks for my wife, who still sleeps down the hall, but will soon rise and round the corner into the living room with a smile on her face and a greeting of “Good morning, honey.” Just as she always does.

I say thanks for the blessings that are our children, grandchildren, and our extended families. Thanks for a warm home, for food in the pantry, for neighbors who are also friends, and for our health.

The cat gladly takes over my chair as I rise to stoke the fire and get another cup of coffee. I return to the living room and stare at the lights on the tree. I look at the bubbles flowing rapidly inside each light, and I think about how many Christmases have passed in my lifetime.

It is easy to allow the Christmas season to pass without spending time focusing on why we celebrate it.

The quiet of the early hours each Christmas morning is the perfect opportunity to reflect on each of our blessings and on the short window of time on earth that each of us have been given to enjoy them.

Making the most of each Christmas and sharing with others its meaning is the best way to make the season merry.

Time is fleeting, but the meaning of Christmas is eternal.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:11

©2016 John Moore
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