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Unwrapping Christmas
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By Willy Nywening

My dear ones,
It's time again to deck the halls
Even though you will be far away this Christmas,
You will still be home with us.

Once more, it's time to unpack the boxes of Christmas.
Gently, I handle the handmade ornaments of your youth, now faded and chipped,
Although they no longer hang on our fancy tree,
now trimmed in glittering ornaments,
Each year I unwrap them to memorize their meaning,
again, in a clandestine, place in my heart
as cherished, priceless keepsakes.

My greatest treasures include a scrapbook of snapshots,
bits of the simple joys of special moments,
like watching my children trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues
while walking to church on a picture, perfect Christmas Eve.

You have all taught me so much.
When you were little,
you tore the paper off your gifts,
You probably remember that I fused about the clutter.
Now, I tear it too,
I still tidy up the mess, but later will do
The knowledge that there are more important things
than a clean room, is a keepsake of those long ago celebrations.

The toys that were costly and perhaps a bit frivolous,
have also been taken from the attic
unpacked again, to be enjoyed by your children.
The delight on their faces, as they listen to the stories
is another maturing precious memento.

Whenever I see a child on Santa's knee
I remember how you were too realistic to believe
We have no pictures of you with Santa.
I think you knew even when you were very young
the true meaning of Christmas

When I hear the songs of Christmas,
I remember sitting around the piano
hearing your voices, loud and clear,
We had our own family choir,
Perhaps not perfectly pitched,
still completely in tune with the season.

And lest, my dears, you think I'm getting old and sentimental
I also remember bitter tears,
the frustrations and challenges of growing up,
But those images are fading with the passage of time
Replaced with the radiance of smiles and the resonance of laughter.

I am blessed and proud to be your mom!
Do you know that I'm a little jealous of your youth?
You have such gentle spirits, such courage, such grace
And still so young.
So far to go, so much to do.

Remember sometimes when you were upset
and you tried to wipe away kisses,
I told you that a kiss of love goes straight to the heart
is tucked away there for always
and can't ever be wiped away?
Christmas is like that too,
And when we can't be together on that one day
All the wonderful truth, and delightful moments of Christmas
will wrap themselves around us and hold us together.
Yes, miles may separate us, and we will miss the touch of each other
but we can never be apart when we cherish and carry and live
the love and joy of Christmas.

You will always be home for Christmas, my dear, dear children
When all the glittery trimmings and trappings of the season are packed away,
The true gifts of faith, hope and love, remain ingrained in my heart.
What I once thought were the little things,
are now incredible blessings in which I delight throughout the year.

Sitting here, enjoying the memories of joy, exuberance and laughter

That is Christmas.
The willingness to give so freely, so unselfishly of yourselves,
that is the true legacy of Christmas.
Christmas is the gift of love
Given by the Christ child born that first Christmas day
You grasp that love, and live it openly and honestly.

Beloved, you have empowered me with freedom to unwrap and savor
the truth of Christmas like a child.
Not only on this one day, but every day on my journey home.






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