I historically have thought of Christmas as a time of angst and tension -- as something to be gotten through rather than enjoyed. However, in keeping with my relatively recent commitment to renounce struggle as a way of life, I decided that this year would be different. "The holidays don't actually have to suck; this year I'm choosing to see them as good and fun," I told myself. And I meant it. And it worked!
Last Thursday was spent cooking for and spending time with most of my somewhat unorthodox, but completely lovely, family circle: my fiance's three children, my fiance, his ex-wife, her boyfriend, and his mother. It was just the eight of us, and I think that a good time was had by all. My parents and brother were in NC for the holiday, and I missed them very much (this is only the second Christmas that we have not spent together), but I had a nice chat with all of them and felt that we were together in spirit.
This Christmas for me was about thanksgiving more than anything; in fact, my urge to say "thank you" to the powers that be was even stronger on Christmas Day than it was on Thanksgiving. One of our family members who had been in the hospital for several weeks was released the Tuesday before Christmas and was able to join the family celebration on Christmas Day. This was, for all of us I believe, the very best Christmas present imaginable. The oldest one of our ranks had been through a serious illness earlier in the year, but she made a recovery and was in fine form on Christmas Day, which was another wonderful blessing.
It may sound trite, but there really is no greater gift than having your loved ones alive and well and spending a very happy and convivial day together with them, is there? Gifts purchased at the mall or over the Internet, while good in their own way, pale in comparison to having a good time with people you love.
Thank you, thank you, for letting us have such a wonderful Christmas this year. May all the joy and well-being of that day remain with us as we head into 2009.