Saturday, December 22, 2018

The year Christmas Changed

The year Christmas Changed.

It was 14 years ago, that I watched my dad die. I called my wife Aleta from the hospital to go over to my mom's to tell her. I later took my mom to pick out a coffin. We didn't have the funeral until the 30th and we still "had Christmas" but some things were not done that year. No business related Christmas cards. Almost no gifts. Even though I knew and still know I will see my dad again, that wasn't important. Family was important. Christ was important. I have no idea how many people were offended I didn't send them a card or gift.

Some things have caused me to still be more outwardly engaged with "the season". Several years my church ward has had a Christmas Card exchange. Aleta and I would print out a hundred or so one page Christmas Cards, and go over to the ward and help sort the many thousands of "cards" that would be delivered by our youth. Our ward didn't do it this year, so no cards again.

Our Rotary Club has had a Sub for Santa for the Family Support Center. We buy gifts for a few families. This year, as a club they didn't fit in a large SUV. One year I went with my wife to pick out a couple of coats. One on this lady's list was over $100. it was a coat a contractor would buy to stay warm. I realized I hadn't ever purchased that nice of a coat for my wife, but she didn't say anything. This year we got 20 stockings and a few items to go with others for our Rotary project. We had our annual wrapping dinner and party. I made a note that "Santa" would need a ride later this year. It was neat to see the kids sit on his knee.

Christmas includes a few gifts, some of my wife's Rice Crispy treats to deliver to a few in the ward. What it really is: reading a couple of chapters in Matthew and Luke, one in Helaman, and one in 3rd Nephi. It means that because of Jesus and his atonement and resurrection, I didn't lose my dad that year, I just don't have his contact info. We will still go see the lights, and visit family. That year many years ago, Christmas changed. It changed me. As I sit in tears, remembering the Son of God, I remember I am still a son because of him.

Merry Christmas. You are still loved, even without all the gifts.