Most years, something happens during the holiday season that touches my heart in great ways or in small ways. Sometimes it's not obvious or apparent, but if I think about it for a few minutes, I'll recognize it. And sometimes it's something that can't be overlooked or ignored. But whatever it is, each year something occurs that makes me feel good about myself and the people who are a part of my life.
I don't remember from year to year each and every "event" that has brought Christmas into my heart, but I do remember a few of them.
When our children were very young, seeing their excitement after Santa had come to visit brought back for me the magic and wonder I felt as a child. What a joyous feeling!
And when our kids got a little older, we taught them to help those who were less fortunate than us. Really, what we did in purchasing toys and clothing for children in need was a very small thing compared to what so many do to serve the needy throughout the year, but seeing the light of compassion kindled in my children's eyes reminded me how rewarding it feels to help when we can.
In some years, simply baking Christmas treats on rainy December days, inhaling the perfume of cinnamon and sugar, has been enough to send a frisson of holiday excitement through my heart.
Last year, an excursion with friends to look at the holiday light displays in our city brought back that childhood feeling of Christmas excitement and anticipation. There's something about the twinkling lights that's quite magical, and I could sense a link between myself and the strangers we met who were out with their families, experiencing the same touch of magic.
And this year? For awhile, I didn't get it. I was so busy trying to get ready for Christmas and take care of my family that I didn't take the time to sit back and see what was happening around me--until today. And here's what I saw.
It started on Monday when a "Secret Santa" in our office left little gift bags on each of our desks. Inside were packets of drink coasters, and everyone seemed to have a different design on theirs. Gosh, didn't we all feel special? A couple of us discovered the identity of the gift giver, who explained to me that she did it because she just wanted everyone to have a little something to let them know someone was thinking of them. Also on Monday, some of us were given lavender-filled eye masks that one of the secretaries had made.
On Tuesday morning, a small package of petit fours appeared on each of our desks. If anyone discovered where they came from, I never heard. And later in the day, someone delivered small packages of soaps she had made to each of us--lovely scented little treats!
On Wednesday--well, you've seen the cocoa and candy cane cups I put together for everyone. Did I ever tell you they were for the secretaries and staff at the office?
On Thursday morning, a secretary who is a Tupperware dealer in her "free time," delivered to each of us a little Tupperware container filled with M&Ms. Another woman brought in two full trays of freshly made lumpia (egg rolls) to share. (They are one of my most favorite foods in the world!) Later in the day, another secretary gave jars of homemade cheese spread to a few of us. At the very last minute, another friend ran over with a little gift bag--she had nearly forgotten to give it to me. It was just a "little something" that let me know she had thought of me when she was out shopping. And, of course, I'm sure there were many other small remembrances exchanged between friends that I don't even know about.
All of these thoughtful little gestures added up to a bit of a Christmas miracle in my world. Sure, most years at Christmas time gifts are exchanged between friends in the office, but I don't recall another year when so many people took the time to do something for each and every one of us--there are about 20 or more non-attorneys in our office, so remembering everyone is a pretty big undertaking.
Of course, it's not the gifts themselves that are important in all of this; it's the fact that so many shared something of themselves with others. And I wonder whether the poor economy may have played a role in getting people to think of what they could DO instead of simply opening their wallets to purchase gifts?
Whatever the reason, I think I've found this year's Christmas miracle in my life. How about you?