In so many ways, Christmas is a celebration of the triumph of Quality over quantity. You might say that Quality became quantity so that quantity might become quality.
Simple gifts indeed. For whatever reason Christmas is the dam where sadness pools and makes it very difficult to experience happiness; the pain and sorrow of others' lives (not disappointment in quantity but the quality concept you and others have discussed) and the bitterness and emptiness that causes them to be angry, resentful, and selfish just overwhelms me for a time. Better now that the "Simple Gifts" melody and lyric have been played, and better that the burled wood box has been visited. Perspective is all important and your post helped me regain some of mine.
Nice to see that Gagdad has broken the surface as well. Merry Christmas to everyone.
Thanks, Gerard, for sharing this simple gift - or rather, this precious treasure - with us. I hope your Christmas this year is filled with such gifts of the hand and heart.
A thoughtful and brilliantly written post.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
May you all also have those "unsubstantial" treasures.
'Tis the Winter of our discontent, let there be no doubt.
Yet in good faith and as surely as the Earth turns, Spring will return again.
It is a hard thing to keep your heart warm when the world around you appears to be turning so cold, but that is what Faith is for.
Keep the faith, Merry Christmas!
Wow. I have a picture like that at the beginning of this post— but it's from my church's foyer, where the Giving Tree collection was gathered. (I didn't even get a *chance* at a tag this year— they were all gone!)
I love giving more than receiving, simply because picking out a perfect gift is a lot of fun, but when people ask me what I want I tend to go blank. This year I did okay with the nieces but I hit a home run with my nephew, to whom I gave a telescope that was all of $10. (He's almost five.)
I am still astonished at the amount of stuff we ended up with. Part of that is the fallout from being part of a large family group. But for some reason, I expected to go to the family gathering with all of my gifts and come home with less. Vain hope.
Let us all give thanks to Gerard, our Poet Lariat.
He continually lassos the light allowing us all to see more clearly what is most important.
And for all,
Remember them now,
and forever after."
Merry Christmas, Gerard; and Glad Tidings to you and yours!
I was at my little brother's in N.C. For Christmas me and my brother (the major) put on gray suits, white shirts, and ties. I brought my suit and he matched it - I think some things require a proper reception.
Another family was there with their little ones, and another friend whose husband was in Baghdad (he called, and we wished him a Merry Christmas).
Good food was cooked; wine bottles were un-corked; beer was poured; whiskey found its home.
And little children ravaged colorful paper, and found the little treasures the paper shielded.
Much joy occured (according to the report).
But I heard the best today, a couple of hours ago. Today I got up at 4 a.m. to go from North Carolina back to Michigan. When I got home I e-mailed my little brother to say "I got back".
He returned "Allison (the almost 2 year old) was searching the guest room looking for you."
The Bumblebee is fond enough of me to look for me.
God, I am rich.
A Happy Christmas to you Gerard. This is a lovely story. I missed it the first time. I like when you regift your presents to us. They get better with every reading.
Wonderful. Thank you. Merry Christmas!
And..., just look how far we've come since you first penned it.
My favorite thing about Christmas is the whole family gathering together, cooking and preparing, singing, playing games, oohing & aahing and laughter, then cleaning up after and still tittering. The presents and the tree are just an excuse to be with the people we love.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL and TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT
Thank You, Gerard
It was 1957. We had just moved to California from the East Cost. We were happy but things hadn't gone well and Christmas wasn't going to be as bounteous that year. The week before one of the delights of our new home, a Santa Ana Wind, came up and with it came the tumbleweeds. My dad went out to the street and snagged one as it went by. He put it in the corner of our small living room then my mother adorned it with a single string of tiny blue lights and covered it with angel hair.
I sit here and my mind drifts to remebrances of Christmas past. I picture that holy blue radiance and I am fulfilled.
There is a difference between a possession and loot.
A possession requires a place in your life. It requires some maintenance and a useful purpose - albeit a tool, a work of art, or even a container for a memory. But a possession requires possessing which means time spent out of your day or week or month.
Too many possessions and the place is disorderly and its purposes are tarnished. Especially if you can't find the possession or other things for that matter.
Thus it also takes some possession of its owner.
Loot... is well... loot. You use it. Use it up and discard it. If its in the way, you discard it. If it gets broken, so what? Discard it. Teh value of loot is obviously a lot less than a possession.
Do anyone want to admit being a keeper of loot (vs a possession)?
Merry Christmas and thanks for a very nice story.
My favorite Christmas present was given to me when I was 18. My mom had been in a bad wreck the previous year. Her knees had been destroyed and she lost her front teeth on the brake pedal. She was able to just barely get around on crutches. All we had was disability and I had not been able to attend my high school graduation because there just was not enough money for it.
My mom bought me a pair of fleece lined gloves. It meant so much to me then and still does. Because what matters the most about Christmas is the love that the presents are wrapped in.
Catching up on the Blog-o-Sphere this calm and peaceful morning, it was reassuring to read the essay describing the largesse and madness of Christmas that I have been gradually escaping from for the whole of my life. Reassuring in the way that you exposed the facade of happiness that many people view as genuine. This illusion has greased the eyes of many of our fellow Americans in other facets of the successful American lifestyle.
'illusion'. Good grief auto correct! [Fixed]
Reading this again, now with a lad of my own almost the age of the one in my story, my heart breaks for that little boy. I hope somehow, some way, he is finding his way past that room and into a less filled and more fulfilling life.
Christmas is for everyone. It isn't just the celebration of one man's birthday, but a celebration of joy and redemption. It is a gift for everyone. A day to stop and shout "Joy to the World".