Driving home tonight on a December evening, the night is so clear and beautiful, I notice the stars above. Looking quickly through my windshield, since the road I am driving is a two-lane highway, it makes me remember days I stood outside at night with my dad and surveyed the different constellations in the sky. My father loved the stars and when we stood outside at night to let the dogs outside for one last potty break he would tell me different names for each one in the sky. Now when I look at the sky I always think of him. I know the Big Dipper is part of Orion’s belt and where to find Venus on a clear evening. I didn’t know the stars like he did, and in actuality, he probably didn’t know that many. But he was my dad and he knew the world. It didn’t matter if what my dad told me was wrong because he was there with me sharing something new and wonderful about my environment.
December is a wonderful time of the year. Everyone seems to be hopped up on the holiday cheer. I try and remember what it means to be a part of the holidays because the people around me love it so much. But inwardly this time of year is a bit hard. Just for the simple fact that my family is so different and there are huge chunks missing at our Christmas tables. But I know now I have to think on a bigger scale when it comes to Christmas and the holiday spirit. There is something greater in the world than my heartache and happiness. Is that not what this time of year means? To think outside of oneself and focus on others because no matter how awful things might seem to us, there is always something far worse and far harsher.
I looked at those stars tonight on the way home and realized my daughter sleeping soundly in the backseat deserved more than my own heartache. She deserved the belief I still have inside for a great Christmas. She deserves to know the love and friendship I grew up with around the holidays. Wrapping gifts, gathering to laugh and reminisce, those are memories my children need to have in their hearts. They need to experience the joy and love that comes from serving and helping others that need a lift in life. I suddenly realized tonight while driving how important it is for my own children to see me enjoy the holidays. They don’t know the true hurt that can come from an ugly world. Their family is intact and safe. Their life is still pretty sheltered in the idea that a large guy in a red suit is going to fulfill their every wish on Christmas morning. But is that really the true meaning of Christmas? Finding the perfect gift? I have already stressed about what to buy whom this year and it boggles my mind that I need to focus so much on the material aspect of the Christmas season when I really need to be focused on something much bigger. Christmas was not designed around the largest gift under the tree. It was created thanks to the birth of a sweet baby boy who saved the world from itself.
Thanks to those stars in the sky tonight, I realized while driving my daughter home that I need to open my mind and heart up to something more. I will always miss those holes in my heart, but the ones I loved and lost wouldn’t want their absence to take away from anyone’s happiness. I need to realize that Christmas is not about finding the perfect gift or fulfilling a quota. It is about finding a person to love and help. It is about being kind and understanding to one another. The holidays can be stressful enough without all the added materialistic and narcissistic aspects of today’s world. Think about Zu Zu’s petals in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and what they meant to George. It was a representation of how good life can be without all the fluff. So go focus on YOUR stars in the night sky and find what YOU believe in to make this holiday season a memorable one for yourself and for your family.
Merry Christmas and Holiday Cheers!