The Season of Giving
The holiday season is a time of year celebrated by many around the world. Ashura, Bodhi Day, Hanukkah, Santa Lucia Day, Las Posadas, Christmas, and Kwanzaa are all celebrated in December.
So many of us gather together before the new year in a time of reflection and celebration. However you choose to celebrate with your loved ones, we do share much in common.
I would like to share with you some of my experiences and wishes.
My earliest Christmas memories were always at my grandmother’s house. On a pallet, my uncle, cousin, and I would pretend to be asleep and listen as the grown-ups consumed great quantities of some kind of breakfast drink. They would continue to consume, tell stories, and laugh loudly until we just couldn’t stay awake any longer (it was years later when I realized that eggnog wasn’t really for breakfast).
Christmas morning was always magical. As we played excitedly with our toys, I was always amazed that Christmas magic would bring Grandma to the living room with her movie camera at 4:30 am. The magic must have tapped on her shoulder first because it would be some hours later before it tapped on the other grown-ups. The light on that old movie camera was so bright it would have made Rudolph jealous. And I don’t believe I ever saw our eyes in those old movies because everyone was squinting so hard.
Later Christmases were just as memorable. You get to that age where you are old enough to stay up (and have the “breakfast drink”), play games, and talk about Christmases past; but you are still in the youngest generation, and you don’t have any real responsibilities. Stay up late, sleep in, and still get the presents! I didn’t think things could ever be better.
Nowadays, that same old Christmas magic keeps me awake for hours after my children have gone to bed. Being Santa’s elf requires a little staying power as he doesn’t always leave me uncomplicated instructions or enough patience (many times those instructions were meant for another elf in a different country). Being the elf only has few benefits, as my only pay is milk and cookies. My beautiful wife and I are now the ones to wake up when it’s still dark and roll the cameras. But something else has happened now, and it comes reflecting back at me in the cookie-filled smiles of my children: the real gifts of Christmas.
These gifts change you forever and have left me grateful for my precious time with my friends and family. Love is caring, embracing, and comforting. It makes me yearn to be the best me I can be for you; and all that I am, and desire to be, is yours. Joy is the ultimate happiness in seeing the ones that you love become so elated. It is particularly apparent in our children as they show no restraint in their absolute giddiness. And Peace comes to me when we are together and whole. The calmness in knowing that nothing else really matters gives me a feeling of being complete. My Christmas wish this season is for my family and friends to receive these gifts from me “to make their season bright.” You all have given me Love, Joy and Peace. These gifts we share make me feel special andloved. They give me strength, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday.
To my special green angels: I love and respect you so much. Your capacity for commitment, conviction, and compassion never ceases to amaze me. You mean the world to me, and while we may not sit around the tree together during this special time, I want to share some thoughts with you.
You carry the light that is brighter than any star for many of our patients, families, and loved ones. They may be struggling with a possible last Christmas with someone they cherish. They may be having their first Christmas without the ones who gave them their Love, Joy and Peace. You will give another gift this season, the gift of Hope.
Hope is a belief, a promise of a better tomorrow. They will have a chance at a better Holiday season because you are there. Because you care, you can be counted upon when there is little Joy and even less Peace.
However, something else will be there with you and the Hope you bring; and that is Love.
Love doesn’t disappear in trying times. While happiness fades and sometimes fears takes over, Love remains constant and strong. Without love, there would be no sadness and no sense of loss. Your compassion allows families to cherish this very special time with their loved ones and to be able to focus on what matters most to them.
The number one thing that everybody wants and needs is for the ones that they love to know that they love them. You, special green angel, allow that to happen.
All my love this holiday season – Perry