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Stories, Poems and Humor
Left Book A True Celebration of Christmas
by Merica, Nancy
Right Book

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Language: English



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A few years ago, with Christmas less than two weeks away, I lay in the hospital, staring glumly at the big, cheap plastic bow taped to the door of my room. I wasn't ready and wouldn't be when the holiday arrived. I. A slew of presents not only needed wrapped, but weren't even purchased. Nor the tree they should be placed beneath.

I wasn't thinking of myself, but of my husband, seven grandchildren, our four children and their spouses. Jack's mother had died three weeks earlier, after a sudden and severe illness hospitalizing her for a week. We spent that week with her, burying her the day before Thanksgiving.

Our traditional Thanksgiving dinner, with nineteen of us gathered around the table, had to be canceled. We had neither time nor inclination to prepare, though we were thankful our loved one's suffering had ended and she had gone to be with the Lord.

Now, due to my illness, our traditional Christmas would have to be canceled. Doctors weren't certain of my diagnosis. Possible surgery faced me. But even if I were sent home with a clean bill of health, I would be weak from liquid dieting and bedrest. With Christmas only eight days away, I couldn't possibly decorate, shop, and cook for such a large crowd.

I remembered my daughter, Kim, and I discussing earlier in the year of how commercialized Christmas had become. A blizzard of shopping, baking and gift-wrapping left little time for what Christmas really meant. Jack and I had considered caroling for the elderly in our community, reading the Christmas story to the grandchildren, and spending more time and love on intangible gifts, sharing of time and talents. But our extended family couldn't agree on a time for caroling, and we felt cheap when we considered spending less money for presents.

So Christmas would be spent as usual--we thought. But there I lay, the tree not trimmed, gifts not bought, a turkey not purchased. Suddenly, I saw the cheap, plastic bow on my door in a different light, a reminder of how insignificant and tawdry our usual celebrations of Christmas must appear to God. Christmas would come, its meaning not diminished for lack of folderol. God's love would shine deeper in our hearts for one another because we'd learned through the loss of a loved one to more appreciate those left.

Material, temporal wrappings had been torn from our celebration, revealing the true gift, Christ Child of the manger, Savior of the cross, Lord of hearts and heaven. I might lie in a hospital bed recuperating from surgery or be sent home with a clean bill of health. Either way, we would celebrate Christmas. For Christmas cannot be orchestrated by man. Christmas, sent down from Heaven, is eternal, our gift from God, wrapped in love.

Wise Men traveled toward the star, ever mindful of the King awaiting them at journey's end. That Christmas of 1991, I was forced to keep my eyes on the Light. And by the illumination of that light, The Star of Bethlehem, guided me to a deeper appreciation of the real meaning of Christmas. Not glitter, pomp, and presents, but God's love, peace, and His Son's presence in our hearts.



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Additional Information

Nancy Merical, an award-winning writer, writes a weekly column for her local newspaper, "The Jackson Herald." Mother of four and grandmother of ten, she paints writes, teaches piano, and does occasional crafting. Besides several periodical publications, Nancy has published two books. The latest, DOWN LIFE'S PATH with Mom and Dad, a compilation of columns, photos, and poems chronicling the tragic deaths of her parents, is available on www.bbotw.com.



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