Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Christmas Present

Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled.

I enjoy Christmas.

At night I sit in the dimly lit living room and watch the lights flicker and dance on the tree. I look at my favorite ornaments and think about the story that goes with each. Christmas has been very quiet for me this year.

Many people are rushed, frustrated and angry during this season. Lists are too long, and calendars too full. Minds are too crowded with the many obligations and duties that loom.

Lines out of shopping plazas and malls are like cattle shoots. We hear phrases like “skipping Christmas” and there are many who are truly trying to avoid the entrapment of the season.

Because of a couple of fluke accidents, Christmas has been very different for me this year. But I received one of the best Christmas presents of my life last night.

It couldn’t be wrapped.

My Dad came to my house for Christmas. He sat in my living room on the couch beside me, and I felt like a little girl.

My father and I haven’t talked in the past four years. Who knows why exactly? Miscommunication. No communication. Stubbornness. Pride.

One Sunday morning back in early November I chucked pride and stubbornness into the trash and called him. That was the best phone call I have ever made in my life.

Suddenly Christmas has become something more. More than just a time for gifts and festivities. More than obligation. More than the traditions that I hold close. This Christmas has become a time of reconciliation.

I have a cast on my right leg. And every one who comes to visit me signs it. My daughters handed the marker to their Papa. He began to write on my bright red cast. I held my breath. My father’s name is Tony. That’s what I expected to see when he moved his hand away. Instead in big, fat, clear letters he had written: Dad.

The thrill that pierced my heart was immediate and so tangible that I swallowed a gasp.

When he reluctantly left, I rubbed my finger over the black letters and cried.

My daughters asked if they were good tears and all I could do was nod.

Reconciliation.

This is the real message and meaning of Christmas.

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