Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Greatest Gift...

Clay and I putting up our first Christmas tree in 1987
Our baby girl, born December 1990
Merry Christmas... Kentucky style!! I hope you are filled with joy and blessings galore this year. Christmas–It can be a hectic and demanding time. So much to do! I never seem to get it all done, but I gave up stressing over it a long time ago. I'm that lady with the squeaky cart wheeling down the Walmart aisle on Christmas Eve looking for double A batteries... Never fails! But it doesn't matter because I love Christmas, and all the wonderful memories it conjurs up.
I met my husband twenty-two years ago, about this time of year. He proposed to me in December. I'll never forget that first Christmas, and our decorating the tree together. It was a very crooked tree and we never did get it to stand perfectly right. In fact, we ended up putting a paper back book under one corner to make it look straight. Whatever works, right? I remember watching Clay carry in that crooked tree–he was so proud–smiling from ear-to-ear. And I remember knowing at that instant that he was the man I'd spend the rest of my life with.
Our first child was born by c-section right before Christmas in 1990, just a few years after Clay and I were married. Again, Christmas that year wasn't perfect. In fact, it's just a blur. I think we managed to put a tree up, but between the late night feedings and my recovering from the surgery, I honestly can't even remember decorating it. What I do remember is holding that beautiful little angel, and singing "Silent Night" to her while she slept in my arms. THAT is the closest to perfect that I'll ever come. 

Fast forward twenty-two Christmases later... Right now, Yonas, my youngest, is making himself a hotdog while singing, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Alee, my beautiful baby girl, who just celebrated her nineteenth birthday, is home on college break. And Mitchell, my almost fourteen-year-old, is getting ready to paint a masterpiece with the art set his Mamaw gave him just last night. Clay's cheering on a football game downstairs and I'm...smiling. Our life hasn't been perfect, but do I love the way it's turned out? Absolutely. Is my tree this year straight? Of course not, but I love it just the same as if it were.  As I continue with my squeaky cart down the aisles of Walmart, Christmas growing ever near, I hope for you and yours a wonderful (perfect ; ) as can be) season filled with the greatest gift of all... What is that, you ask? The greatest gift is one that fulfills a need. What is it that you need right now? Me, I'm thirsty for a glass of water. Such a basic need, and one I take for granted on a daily basis, but it's a need that goes unmet in many other parts of the world, such as Africa, where my youngest son was born. I think this time of year our hearts open just a little wider to those less fortunate than ourselves. So give wisely and from the heart this year to someone in need. That, my friend, is without a doubt, the greatest gift of all! 
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