I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
As I said in my previous post, my daughter recently asked me if daddy is going to be home for Christmas. It was a painful reminder of last Christmas and our family’s separation. It also made me acutely aware of her memory and how well she processes things that are going on in her world. This is why I feel it is so very important for me to take every opportunity available to teach her about what Christmas is all about.
This year I’m not just focusing on the birth of Christ but also the gift of the birth of Christ. He was a gift. I want Peanut (and the Bean too) to learn to focus on giving and not receiving. I want to focus on it too.
Every time I go out to a store or mall, I hear it. Sounds. Sounds of Christmas. Fighting, cheerfulness, grumpiness, voices, cars beeping. I hear “Happy Holidays!” and “That’s my space!”. I hear Christmas music. I hear….bells. I never really paid any attention to the bells before. But for some reason this year I do. The bells remind me of poverty, of people who have less and who are doing worse than me, of people who can’t spoil their children with toys, games, and food. The bells remind me that there is always someone worse off than I, and I’m glad they ring. I’m thankful for the person that stands out in the cold ringing that bell. I’m thankful for the organizations that send those people to ring them. The bells are comforting to me. They remind me that Christmas is about giving and about the love of God for us and that it is our job to give cheerfully and even when it may feel a bit uncomfortable.
You see, while many people may give the most at Christmas, and they may even give the most to those who are in need, I think we generally only give if we feel like we can. Personally, when we get extra cash I either want to spend it on my own family or hold onto it for some other “need” which generally winds up not being a need. It’s important to find that fine balance of taking care of our families and helping other people. I should really assess if our family has what it needs, and if it does, then I should be more willing to let go of my talents, time, and resources to those who really do need them. I adore my family, but I know that we really do have more than we need, and I know that we are capable of doing so much more to give help to those who need it.