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Mary sat in front of her Christmas tree that cold snowy night, the fire was ablaze, the house decorated, and soft Christmas music playing in the background. She looked around the house, it was all ready for the festivities on Christmas day, but Mary could not understand why she was unable to feel the Christmas spirit.

If anything, life was so discouraging lately. She had two children who had lost their way and showed no signs of finding their way back home. Would either of them live to see another day? It was a frightening thought. They were not the children she knew; the sweet, kind, loving and smart children that she loved with all her heart and had always been so proud of. She wondered where it had all gone wrong and what she had done that caused this to happen. Her heart was heavy, hope was fading, and each day got harder and harder for her to find happiness. She was so sadden by this that she could not appreciate the many blessings that did fill her life.

As she looked at her children’s pictures that were hanging from the tree, Mary thought back to her childhood, a time when Christmas was magical. Each year her dad would take her and her younger brother to sit on Santa’s lap. In those days Santa was not in the middle of some huge mall, crowed with last-minute shoppers; instead, there would be a beautiful Santa house set up in the corner of a strip mall, with elves and candy canes all around. Each child would anxiously wait their turn to sit on Santa’s lap and whisper into his ear that special gift they wanted! It was simple and full of magic. It was all part of what made Christmas “Christmas!”

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Memories continued to flash through her head….she could hear the music that used to play during the holidays in her home – Bing Crosby’s “I’ll be home for Christmas…if only in my dreams” and “Ma liki liki Maka.”  The memories were warming and certainly a good attempt to capture that lost Christmas spirit, but she was still empty inside. Tears began to fall. She missed her father who left this world 25 years earlier and longed to hear his words of wisdom that would certainly come in handy right now. She also missed her mom, who was miles and miles away; and longed to be in her arms, as she was sure all the worries of the day would disappear. Most of all, Mary wanted her children to be safe and to find God’s peace once again.

She softly whispered to herself, “Where has Christmas gone? Why can’t I get it back?” As her eyes gazed over the Christmas tree, dancing with lights and tinsel, she heard a soft voice reply…

Christmas is right here, right now. It has never left you. You are looking in the wrong places to find it. A memory is only a memory, and you can treasure it, but you can’t live in it. Christmas doesn’t mean a world with no worries, and it does not promise that there will be no struggles. Christmas lives in the heart of every person.  It’s hope and faith, and perseverance. It’s knowing that Jesus was born into this world so that we may have life; life long after this world has passed.

There was silence and Mary was still. The voice continued,

When you believe in God’s love and mirror the charity & forgiveness that he gave to us, this is when you will begin to experience the true meaning of Christmas and the search will finally be over.  Mary, open up your heart and let God’s light shine through, it will lead the way so you can once again know and feel the true meaning of Christmas. His light will shine on the many miracles that happen each and every day…those which the darkness try to steal from you. See the goodness and know that God is here..for you, your children, and for all. BELIEVE

Mary’s heart was lighter and a smile came to her face. She felt the peace and presence of God’s spirit. Christmas had returned that very moment and she knew she had nothing to fear.

Merry Christmas to all!