Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

These are happy words meant to convey goodwill. All my life-50 years–and 50 Christmases it has been my greeting, or my parting words when leaving a store, a restaurant or someone’s home during the season.

No one has ever gotten offended by my well wishes.

Even when the schools, the 15 years I taught, changed the bulletin boards to read Happy Holidays and the calendar changed to read ‘winter break’ instead of ‘Christmas Break’ I continued on my “Merry” way.

I have been wished a Happy Hanukkuh and Happy Kwanza and I was thrilled to be included in the sentiment.

I have never subscribed to this political correctness in an effort to be ‘inclusive’ of everyone’s differences and avoid hurting people’s feelings.

It seems ridiculous that I would be trying to insult someone by wishing someone a Merry Christmas.

And when the thought police decided to ban the word Christmas–which I love and has so much meaning for me and countless others–they were not worried about offending me or hurting our feelings by ‘excluding’ us.

You see, no one can exclude you unless you allow yourself to feel excluded–and that is all up to how YOU look at it.

Don’t exclude yourself from someone else’s good wishes to you no matter how they may express it–because only you are the one that will miss out.

So when someone wishes me a Happy Holiday, I likewise do not feel offended, I smile and wish them a Merry Christmas back.

This is the season of goodwill and of good wishes and generosity of feelings. Enjoy the season in all its glory!

Because baby, it’s cold outside! Merry Christmas!

A Year In Review

A Year In Review

Now that we are in the second half of December I have taken some time to think about 2018.

The year seemed to go by so quickly–as we’ve all gone about our busy run around lives.

I am grateful for this year and the promise of another. Grateful for all of those around me-family and friends-that share our lives.

Some are close by while others are far away but still impact our lives and the people we are on a daily basis.

It is easier sometimes to reflect as we get older on our lives, on the impact many people have had on us and the impact we have on others.

Sometimes the people who impact us we’ve never met in person and sometimes there are people very close to our hearts.

The closing of this year is a time to celebrate our blessings and a time to also grieve for those who have left us physically but that will always be with us–in some fashion by the way they touched our lives.

Just the day before yesterday we lost Penny Marshall, actress and one of the first female directors. The beautiful Laverne from the Laverne and Shirley show.

We have lost other icons like Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), Charlotte Rae (Mrs. Garrett), Robin Leach (from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous), and Burt Reynolds (Smokey and the Bandit).

These characters lived with us through TV and molded our thoughts, our fantasies of our lives, and our sense of humor.

Others that impacted our lives and society are also gone–Billy Graham, Barbara Bush and months later her husband, George H.W. Bush. They leave us with their patriotism, their service and their great love of God and country.

Some that impacted me personally are Linda Brown-who was the center of the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education that overturned the ‘separate but equal’ ruling that helped end segregation.

Aretha Franklin, who helped me come of age with songs like ‘Respect’ , ‘Think’, and a ‘Natural Woman’.

Stan Lee, who fed my imagination with his superheroes and Marvel comics, always in a fight between good and evil in which good wins out in the end.

There are closer hits to the heart. A few family friends that molded us in our early years and we have fond memories of. And an aunt that shared my blood and beautiful memories of family with me that I will never forget and always cherish.

We leave all these behind in the history of this year and we will forever carry them forward with us as we continue to travel through our time.

Most of all, as we close 2018, we should remember how every part of us came from a part of others who touched our lives and how we continue to touch the lives of others.

Be kind, be honest and be grateful in these last days of the year and carry the memories with you into the next.

Another Christmas Story

Another Christmas Story

Christmas movies are made with many different plots, story lines, characters and happy endings. Most Christmas stories are about love.

However, the most important Christmas story of course, is the first one.

I imagine Mary and Joseph making preparations to travel to Bethlehem from Nazareth, to Joseph’s hometown. The trip was a necessary one–to register themselves as a married couple and their baby that was due to be born any day for the census–as was the Roman law at the time.

The trip would have normally taken about 3 days in good weather and under good conditions. But Mary was 9 months pregnant. Travel must have been arduous and slow.

It is no wonder that all the homes were full by others complying with the census law when Joseph and Mary arrived.

And that the only place left would be a lower house where usually the family animals were kept.

By ancient accounts and histories, neither Mary or Joseph looked for any particular assistance or special treatment. Seemingly accepting their fate and destiny.

And so a baby was born that brought salvation to us all.

This is the Christmas story we celebrate each year:

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 

Luke 2:11-14

This Christmas story is by far the most important and the one that leads us to all others. Why is this story so important? It is a story of hope, peace, family, humility and survival. But most importantly it’s a story about Love.

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story

While my favorite Christmas movie is It’s a Wonderful Life, and my husband is kind enough to watch it with me each year–it is NOT his favorite Christmas movie.

My husband’s favorite Christmas movie doesn’t have a romantic, spiritual or an especially moralistic message.

In fact, the first time I saw his favorite: A Christmas Story–I was surprised that this movie would be popular at all.

The entire plot revolves around a young boy who is dreaming of receiving a bb gun from Santa at Christmas as he goes through his daily life in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

I just didn’t think it was funny–or good.

The 2nd year I watched the movie (we actually watched it twice since there was A Christmas Story Marathon), I noticed different details in the movie and enjoyed hearing my husband laugh as he watched.

And now, years later, as we watch his favorite I find myself laughing and looking forward to the scenes of 9 year old Ralphie battling a school bully, a mean Santa at the mall and convincing his clueless parents to get him the ultimate Christmas gift.

I love seeing him dressed up in his pink bunny pajamas and dealing with his little baby brother…

And while this movie is not my favorite movie of all time at Christmas, it is part of my tradition because my husband enjoys it so much that it makes me enjoy it too!

Ultimately it reminds me the importance of the season: joy, family, laughter, togetherness, and the blessing of living this American life that allows us to celebrate and enjoy the holiday in any way we choose.

Enjoy your own Christmas Story!

It’s A Wonderful Life

It’s A Wonderful Life

This time of year has special meaning in our society…not just because of the season, celebrations and traditions but also from the joys we get from watching Christmas movies.

Today I am going to share my favorite Christmas movie with you and its meaning…and in my next post I am going to share my husband’s favorite.

Each of us has a favorite and I’m sure if you think about it you’ll find you have one too!

It’s a Wonderful Life has been my favorite movie for as long as I can remember.

Filmed in 1946 it is a story about a desperate man, George Bailey, who is ready to throw away his life on Christmas Eve because of a crisis in his life.

In the middle of his desperation, George wishes he was never born and God sends down an Angel–Clarence–to grant his wish.

Through the magic of film we see how the lives of many people were irrevocably changed when George Bailey does not exist to save them.

It is a story of a man who spent his life unselfishly helping others–and who in the end, in the most desperate moment of his life, finds that everyone comes to his rescue.

This heartwarming story demonstrates the strength of the human spirit and the frailty of human life.

The importance of family, hard work, strong values and a love of God and country.

It’s a Wonderful Life is my yearly reminder of how fortunate we are in this life, year after year, because of the people who came before us.

While it is not a traditional Santa Claus tale–it is the recounting of the importance of the season because of the promises Jesus gave us.

Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed brought the best of the season to life–the love of community, a commitment to serving others and the importance of a miracle at Christmas.

And it really reminds us that it is a wonderful life!

Dear Santa

Dear Santa

When I was a little girl I wrote letters to Santa every year…even after I learned– in 4th grade–that Santa was not real.

He’s always been real to me. Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year and I never tire of the magic at this time of year!

When my children were growing up, I taught them to write letters to Santa too. And I even found a service that I could pay to send the girls a letter FROM Santa postmarked the North Pole.

The idea of Santa is so real to me that I don’t really know when the girls realized Santa was not real…as now, even as adults, I ask them to send me their Santa lists every year.

And so in keeping with my tradition here is my letter for this year:

Dear Santa,

I have been really good this year! And this has really been a good year for my family.

We are all healthy, we have all we need and never miss a meal. The family is strong and united and we are blessed with extended family and friends that are also doing well.

I really don’t want anything for Christmas in particular this year. I know that is a change from my usual lists of items…

But you see–I’ve already have all I want. Family, love, joy, and the magic of Christmas.

I hope all is well at the North Pole! I’ll leave the cookies and milk out for you.

P.S. Tell Donner he’s still my favorite!

19 days left until Christmas! Have you written your letter to Santa yet?

Thank You For Your Service

Thank You For Your Service

No man (or woman) that has walked this earth is perfect–many are far from it. And that also holds true for our Presidents.

They are, for a time, the most powerful person in the world–and while they are held in high regard–we must also remember that they are human.

This last Friday evening we lost our beloved Papi Bush and we are reminded of many things–least of all political.

President Bush was beloved, not because of his titles and accolades but for who he was as a person.

He dedicated his life to service–to God, to his country, and to his family. And he held his values close and lives them out each day.

President Bush’s values is the legacy he leaves for each of us–honesty, honor and humility.

We are a better country for having you at our helm.

Thank you for your service President Bush, as you now live among the angels.