December 23, 2020 5 min read
The first week of December, it happened. One of my favorite holiday events was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. Let me say that again. Immediately following Thanksgiving, Christmas as I know it began to fall apart. It was the first of December. I knew it would be different this year, but that was when it really hit me. I’ve been writing this blog about how to keep JOY in this holiday season, and now, I had to find a way to follow my own advice. Is it really possible to have a Merry COVID Christmas?
I was out of ideas. I had exhausted my brainstorming for new and improved ways to celebrate this year. We had talked about shipping items to family far and near to keep traditions alive. Lighting up the yard to spread your cheer and finding old school ways to connect were already planned. Starting new traditions had even been on the list, but nothing seemed to be able to revive my spirit.
Then, as he has been known to do from time to time, my husband came to my rescue. In November, he had hatched a plan. While my mom and dad were away from their house watching my niece play softball one day, he snuck into their storage shed and took out a special piece of family history and brought it to our house. One day after work he casually walked in the house and announce it was time to get started on the biggest Christmas surprise, I’ve been part of in a very long time…maybe the biggest one ever.
In that moment, I had an epiphany. I’ve been married for 20 years, but in that moment, I found a clarity I hadn’t known before. People always ask what made you fall in love with your partner. In general terms, you know why you were attracted to them, but for the first time, I could explain it in a way I never had before. I’ve told people my husband would give someone the shirt off his back if he thought it would help, but I never really knew what that meant to me. And, this year, having taken on this new venture with The Christmas Pickle to bring more JOY into the craziness known as 2020, I guess I was more in tune with the Christmas Spirit and finally able to make the connection.
You see, we talk about the Christmas Spirit all the time. We even discuss carrying it with us all year long, but what you rarely see much conversation about is what that actually means. What is the Spirit of Christmas? How do you define it? The JOY of the season seems to bring out the Spirit in most of us, but there are those special few who carry it all the time. My husband is one of those rare individuals.
To me, the definition of the Christmas Spirit is to be giving. With the birth and death of Jesus Christ, God gave us the gift of being able to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. There is no greatest gift to be given. We can’t match God’s gift, but we spend the Christmas season celebrating it. We give to one another to show our love and appreciation for the special people in our lives and our gratitude for all we have been given. However, when someone acts whenever the opportunity presents itself to help someone just because, to me, that’s carrying the Christmas Spirit all day, every day. My husband does that in spades. He helps whoever he can, whenever he can, but he’s especially good at gift-giving for loved ones. That brings us back to the Christmas surprise that rescued my Christmas Spirit this year.
Over 50 years ago, my Papaw, my mom’s dad, built a large wooden church that sat on their porch each Christmas. It had doors that opened and translucent windows that shined from the lights within. He fabricated a metal cross for the top of the steeple/bell tower. I loved seeing it when we drove up to their house every Christmas. My mom saved it when my grandparents moved and no longer had a place for it, but over the years it had fallen into disrepair and had not been on display in decades. She didn’t know how to repair it, but she couldn’t let it go. My husband worked on it for several weeks. He built a new roof and doors and repaired the steeple and bell. He built a new base and added stained glass windows. When he finished it, we were in quarantine from COVID exposure, so we loaded it up, delivered it, set it up and then retreated to our vehicle and called my mom to come outside for a surprise. We stayed on the phone and talked as she walked out and listened to her reaction. She was blown away. Shocked and surprised because she had no idea! I wish I could say WE pulled off one of the most memorable Christmas surprises of all time, but I can’t because it was all my husband! I loved seeing my mom’s reaction, but my husband’s was just as wonderful. I wish you could have seen the JOY he received from giving. His heart amazes me…even after 20+ years.
For all the single ladies out there, this is the best advice I can offer for what to look for in your future mate. Pick someone who will go out of his way for his mother-in-law, and you most definitely have a winner!
The thing is, the best givers in life often get taken for granted. Such is the case with my husband. I don’t brag on him nearly enough, but let me tell you, the world could learn a thing or two from him. Men, if you want to know the way to a lady’s heart, be thoughtful, not flashy. Ladies, if you want a keeper, don’t be blinded by the flash. We often see givers as being weak, because we think the world takes advantage of them. But, the reality is, only the strongest of the strong can continue on with a giving spirit even after being taken advantage of. They give because they know what lots of people never figure out. True JOY and strength comes from giving without needing or expecting anything in return. My husband spent weeks laboring on a gift and delivered it in a moment when he couldn’t even get a hug in return, but it didn’t diminish at all the JOY of giving.
So, back to the original question, is a Merry COVID Christmas even possible? It is if you focus on the giving. Make it special for someone else, and you’ll have found the key to a Merry Christmas every year, in every situation. Carry that Spirit with you throughout the year, and you’ll have found a big part of the answer to having a happier life, no matter the season or circumstances.
Thank you for following along with this blog series and thank you for being part of the Christmas Pickle family. My sister and I have truly enjoyed sharing this season with all of you, connecting in a year in which we’ve never felt more disconnected and, hopefully, bringing a little JOY into a year that hasn’t felt so joyful. Thank you for the blessing you are to me and others.
You can check out other entries in this blog series at https://www.texaschristmaspickle.com/blogs/how-to-celebrate-christmas-all-year-long. I would love to hear what you come up with to help make this Christmas one for the record books, so drop a comment here or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me hear your favorite part of this year’s Christmas!
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