Christmas is a bittersweet time for me. December 22nd of 1969, my father left Mom and me. My older brother had been in the Navy for a few years. Then, December 23rd of 2013, my sister-in-law lost her long battle with cancer. The last 50 Christmases or so have been somewhat of a struggle. But I’ve learned something.
It matters not how devastating single events or to us or even multiple events. What matters is how we respond. Oh, I always wanted a “healthy” family at Christmas that comes with all the trimmings: gift giving, all of us together, laughing, eating, catching up. Every December 23rd I struggle at the loss of one of the most beautiful and giving humans I’ve ever known to a scourge that randomly destroys women among us with seemingly no evidence of it in us — until it’s too late: Cancer.
But what do we DO when those tragic things happen? Do we curl up in a ball and cry ourselves to sleep at night? Do we shun our friends and family members, ignoring the same or similar pains that they feel? Or do we fight through the pain and loss? I chose the latter.
I refused to let circumstances of which I have no control to write the chapters of my life. And I approached each devastation in my life with one commitment and one only: I refuse to let whatever this tragedy is to define who I am. Each is just one stop to where I’m going on my life’s road. So why not make all those circumstances that I can good ones instead of living in that curled up ball of “Poor Me?!”
You know what happened when I made that choice? I have my own family now: wife, three children with two sons-in-law and one daughter-in-law, six grandchildren who I adore. EVERY holiday — not just Christmas — is a joyous occasion full of all the gift-giving, laughing, eating, catching up, and being together that was snatched from me at age 16. Each December 23rd I take time to look at pictures, remember specific moments of joy and wonder that I shared with my sister-in-law — most of which were these holidays. In short: I refuse the “Poor Me’s.”
And it works!
That has freed me up to be more conscious of those around me, especially those who are less fortunate than me. I find ways — sometimes just small ways — to make this season a good one for other people. It most often takes little more than a kind smile, a pat on the back, or a “Merry Christmas” to several in the office or on the elevator. That works! I seldom do not receive a mutual smile, “Merry Christmas,” or “Thank You” in return.
Also this time of year, I am very conscious of all those who cannot be with their families for a multitude of reasons. The ones that stir me the most are members of the U.S. Military that find themselves deployed somewhere overseas. It’s especially tough for them to be alone — without the trappings of holidays that you and I will share with our loved ones the next few days.
In that spirit, here at TruthNewsNet.org today in our Podcast, a brief commercial will play followed immediately by a narration of “A Soldiers’ Christmas.” I warn you, it’s very sad; it certainly makes you think. But what I really want it to do when you listen is think of all of those — not JUST military members — who are alone this year. Say a prayer for them. And all this week, whenever you’re in a store, a restaurant, walking down the street, or just parking your car, watch for someone that comes into your life. Maybe it’s just for one moment. Maybe it’s someone you see every day. But INVEST in their lives: even with just a smile. But whether a smile, a “How are you?” a “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” or simply “God Bless You,” invest in them.
Feel free to download the narration. It’s recorded over Mannheim Steamroller’s “Silent Night.” The song alone will want you to keep it to repeat in your future holidays!
Our prayer at TruthNewsNet is that this Christmas and this New Year will be the best ever for all of you. And we pray that God will keep our soldiers safe wherever they are and protect and keep their families. My message to all of them is “May God bless and keep you and yours. Thank you for sacrificing your life and the time away from your family for me — to keep us free and safe.”
For them and for all of you, Merry Christmas! We’ll talk before New Years Day.
Please know this: ‘THE BEST IS YET TO COME!”