Amid all the beautifully wrapped presents, wonderful food and stocking bulging with goodies, there is something missing. Perfection. I realized this year that so much of what we strive for during the holidays is a Hallmark Christmas complete with the a picture-perfect tree, beautifully wrapped gifts, blazing fires, hot chocolate and Clydesdale horses prancing through the snow. The reality is that no one has the perfect Christmas. We are so busy running around trying to complete all the added chores to our already overly scheduled list of things to get done that rarely do we have time to really enjoy the holidays or visit with those that truly matter to us. I worked until the Friday before Christmas which left little time to get my house or family ready for the holidays. It was a hectic time to say the least. Every year we rush off on Christmas morning to my parents house after the kids have barely unwrapped their Santa gifts and spend four hours in the car in route to my parents. It is not a Hallmark Christmas trip. Almost always someone is complaining because they are crowded in the car due to the packages or someone else forget something they wanted to bring. Everyone is tired and cranky. My husband and I are exhausted from the rigors of trying to complete the tasks at hand to make the holiday happen. After a long trip, we arrive at my parents house and once inside I totally forget about all the hustle and bustle it took to get there. I watch as the kids excitedly unwrap their gifts. I enjoy watching my parents play Santa to everyone. I see a room that has grown full of family and I am thankful. It is at that moment I realized Christmas isn’t about the perfectly wrapped presents or getting that dream gift. We already have the most important gifts which are the gifts of each other. Time spent with those we love. I got what I wanted and needed most for Christmas and it was time spent with family. It was perfect after all despite the lack of the picture-perfect Christmas we all envy on instagram.
Today, I attended the funeral of my friend, Debbie’s 17 year old. I listened to Tyler’s dad share loving about his son. He said that Tyler was worried that he wouldn’t have a legacy to leave on Earth, but as I looked around the room, I realized Tyler left a great legacy. He left us all with the desire to be better people, to spend time with those we love and to embrace life. It is so hard to understand why young people die but it isn’t for us to understand. When I lost my own son at age 22, I struggled with the “why” of it all. There isn’t a good answer for why things like this happen. Tyler’s death resurged feelings of my own son’s death. It is easy to get on with life and forget the promises you make but today I was reminded of those promises and plan to do better in 2016.
I vow to be more present, to spend more time with my loved ones and to tell my loved ones I love them. Today, I got the surprise gift we all wish for at Christmas which was a renewed desire to live life to the fullest and to be grateful for what we have no matter our situation.
Thank you, Tyler for reminding us the perfect gift isn’t a gift others give to us, but rather a gift we give to others. The perfect gift lies within us. In giving our gift, we get the most precious gift in return. For it is the gift of giving to others which really brings us the most joy.
I decided to go back and add this to my post because one of the comments made me think about what I had written. Our ultimate gift is God’s gift of the Christ Child and the reason we truly celebrate Christmas!