Since my last column was rather negative and critical of the insanity imposed upon us as we try getting ready for Christmas, I thought I should try taking a more positive approach to my favorite holiday. I do not want to feel rushed and reach that last week impatiently wishing the whole scene was over and done with! I do not want to miss the moment – or the moments. I want to “be there” in those moments. I want to be able to say Merry Christmas with heart. I want to write Merry Christmas on my cards with heart. I want to sift flour and peel potatoes and chop nuts with heart. I want to sing at church with heart. And shop for presents with heart, and help some stranger and fill a stocking for a needy child and spend an hour with someone lonely, and… all with heart! And with Christmas Spirit! Now, how am I going to bring about this Miracle on Twelfth Street? Well, miracles often happen as a result of prayer. So, “Thank you, Lord, for all the blessings you will offer us this coming month”.

To help improve my frame of mind while writing this column, I am listening to a little traditional Christmas music while I think and write. No chipmunks or red-nosed reindeer. No Mommie kissing Santa Claus. Just noels and church bells and carols and cantatas. In this moment, it is a Josh Groban Christmas album. Celine Dion is next in the stack for the moments to come. Music-laden moments rich with reminders of why we celebrate this season. Moments blessed with wise men and heavenly choirs and midnight-starry, silent skies. Hopefully, such reminders will help keep us focused on the reason for the season, so we can more readily ignore all the distractions. We have about three and a half weeks left. So, “Thank you, Lord, for music and cinnamon and pine boughs and Salvation Army volunteer bell ringers and festivals of lights and children trying to be good and gingerbread train kits and Christmas pageants and Grandma is coming and mistletoe and friends who make us smile and TV's holiday specials and…”.

Let's find some ways to show the younger generations that “ 'tis the time to Give, not Get”. Do not just tell them to make something, bake something, draw your own Christmas cards, shovel the old lady neighbor's driveway, visit widow Brown, go caroling at the nursing home, donate a toy or a jacket to a Christmas drive for those less fortunate, …. do it yourself and take kids with you through the process. In other words, WALK your TALK! And let them hear you say, “Thank you, Lord, for helping me spread a little joy this Christmas”.

Set up a Nativity scene in the room where your family spends the most time (or in every room, all through the house [hopefully, no creatures will be stirring] ). Drop a few coins in the collection box. Fix a special, family-tradition dish for a pot-luck dinner at church. Take your favorite photo from last Christmas and send it off to be made into postcards. These are less expensive than most boxed cards, and they cost less to mail. And friends will love it! In other words, think outside the usual Christmas box! And watch the little miracles happen.

Thank you, Lord!
Christmas peace be with you, my friends.