The tree is up and decorated, the lights are on, the shopping is done....what else to do but WAIT?? I've been counting down the days until Christmas with my children (well, mainly my older one since Gannon doesn't really "get it"yet) and I'm so excited that today is Christmas Eve! I really love Christmas Eve, especially going to church and then coming home to sit in awe by the tree, knowing that in just a few short hours Christmas will be here.
We spent the day cleaning. Not the most exciting way to spend the day before Christmas, but it was really the best opportunity we had to all pitch in and just get it done. We leave for vacation on Saturday (going to Lake Lure, NC), and I don't want to come home to a dirty/messy house. I also am happy that we got the chance to all just hang out together and chill right before the crazy and wild havoc that comes with Christmas Day.
I know I get all excited about the holidays, but I can't help but always stop at some point and realize that there are lots of folks that aren't celebrating this season, whether it's by choice or not. There are a lot of people who don't have family with which to celebrate, or have lost someone close to them and just don't feel like celebrating. I really feel for those people and I always wish I could do more than I do. I usually do a good job of charitable giving around the holidays, but lately it just doesn't seem quite enough. Some people want a hug, some people want a shoulder to cry on, and some people just want to find that lost joy. The message I get from this is that maybe I need to start finding ways of giving other than monetarily. Maybe I need to go work a soup kitchen, or go pass out toys to little children in the projects. I'm not sure.
I do remember one of the best feelings I had (it was actually at Thanksgiving, not Christmas) was when I had the opportunity to actually give something other than a "new, unwrapped toy" or write a check to a charity organization (not that those aren't good things to do..). I had a client a few years back when I was working full-time, and she had no family; in fact, she was an elderly lady who was a shut-in. She had no transportation, and actually did not even have the desire to be out amongst the general population due to a severe anxiety disorder. Anyway, she came to see me every week despite not wanting to leave her small apartment, and she was very poor. She was also Jewish, and felt ostracized during the Christmas holidays by those people living around her. Well, this great agency in town prepares a box of everything you would need to cook a Thanksgiving meal for yourself and family, and they take applications for needy people to receive these boxes. They let professionals in the community fill out these applications and then they deliver the box to the agency working with the needy person. Well, when I learned of this outreach, I immediately filled out and application for this particular client and I got the box of food (it was a LOT of food...a WHOLE turkey, no less!!). So, I load it all in my trunk and the day before Thanksgiving I haul it all over to my client's apartment. I hadn't told her I was doing this, and I just showed up. The look on her face was priceless! I unloaded it all for her, gave her a hug and went on about my holiday. When the holidays were over, she told me about how touched she was that I did that, despite her oven not even being big enough to fit the turkey!!! That moment sticks out in my memory as the best feeling I've had about giving during the holidays. It was very special to both of us, I think.
So, I'll be enjoying my Christmas, but as I do I will keep in the back of my head those people that may not be enjoying it so much. I will say my prayers for those unknown people, and I hope they will feel that love somehow this season.