What a pleasure it has been to have Pat from “Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom” contribute to my site over the last few months. Again, I believe you will enjoy this new contribution called “Greatest Gift of All” just as much as her last.
I’m honored to be Susan’s guest with the contribution of this month’s story and in the spirit of Christmas.
I hope my story, Greatest Gift of All, will warm your heart and tickle your soul as I remembered a childhood gift of long ago and a special Christmas. Enjoy!
Greatest Gift of All
In the U.S., we’re in the heart of the holiday season having just enjoyed the festivities of Thanksgiving. Now, it will soon be Christmas. The hustle and bustle are beginning as families around the world prepare to celebrate their special traditions.
Make no bones about it, somewhere in the middle of it all, no matter the culture, there’s bound to be a gift or two.
That got me thinking about gifts and the ones I’ve received down through the years. As hubby and I were talking about it, I tried to remember the gifts I received and only a couple came to mind from long ago.
One of them was when I was a kid and got a circus for Christmas. It was all decked out with wild animals to play with in a big circus top. Hubby got a similar set that was popular at the time, but it was a fort. My circus was colorful and painted like a tent on the outside panels and on the inside rafters were painted with people seated below in rows. You put it together by connecting the thin, metallic panels and bending tabs to hold it together. You had to be careful because the edges were sharp.
We both agreed that what we remembered most about our gifts were the people and feelings surrounding Christmas. This time of the year is magical and carries an energy of anticipation, especially as a child. There was one such Christmas I remembered in particular.
It was Christmas Eve, and I was listening at the window. It was an annual tradition in our suburban neighborhood for Santa to come around in the back of a flatbed truck decorated with strung-up lights and seated on hay bales. I could hear the Christmas carols ringing out from the rigged-up speakers and knew he was close.
It was the same type of anticipation back in the day waiting for the ice cream truck, for when Santa got to your street all the kids would run out. The truck would stop and one by one we’d climb up and sit on his lap and whisper our secret wishes to him. The night air was cold, and there was a dusting of snow lightly falling to the ground.
My heart was full of innocent jubilation and glee. Time seemed to stop in that moment as I sat on his lap and told him what I wanted for Christmas. He listened, and the air was electric as I heard his jolly laugh when granting my wish and telling me to be a good girl. As I climbed back down, I was given a large, mesh stocking full of candy and little plastic toys. I don’t even remember what I asked for, only the magical moment with Santa.
Our house was small, with my mother’s modest decorations and her classic windowsill candle lights. She never put up the tree until after we went to bed the night before Christmas. I was flying high as I came back home from seeing Santa. My mind was stirring with wild imaginings. It was getting late, and we would soon have to go to bed as I sat at the window one last time, listening. All was quiet, and Santa’s make-shift sleigh had moved on to the other neighborhoods. I could no longer hear the carols.
Then, all of a sudden I heard jingles and a thump. They sounded close, and I jumped up to look out the window, and up in the sky I swore I got a glimpse of Santa’s sleigh flying up and over our house. My heart leaped with excitement as I felt the magic of Christmas flood over Santa and me.
The little girl in me still holds that magic close to her heart. The air is still electric and filled with music and people caring for one another. No wonder Christians celebrate the greatest gift of all ― life ― in the miraculous birth of Christ. It set the stage many centuries ago for a time of love and giving.
We come full circle as another year is about to come to a close as we take a ride around the sun on this big, blue, beautiful Earth. The true gift, as a new day unfolds, is that we get to try again and again ― waking up wiping the slate clean ― working at loving, letting go and attempting to live life to the fullest… the greatest gift of all.
What gifts stand out for you and helps you remember a special time? Happy holidays everyone and God bless you. May this Christmas be blessed with love and gratitude sharing the gift of life.
I hope you enjoy this video of Jimmy Buffett and Martina McBride singing “Trip Around the Sun” in celebration of Christmas Day.
Thank you, Susan, for allowing me to share one last story with your readers. I hope they have as much fun with it as I did remembering.
Life’s journey continues with Pat from the ‘ol kitchen table — for more stories from Pat go to “Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom.”