I noticed a change in the light that crept in our bedroom around the window blinds this morning. The sound of early morning traffic passing in front of our house was different too. It seemed muted …
I noticed a change in the light that crept in our bedroom around the window blinds this morning. The sound of early morning traffic passing in front of our house was different too. It seemed muted and distant. As the sleep faded from my brain, I remembered the changing seasons. The winter solstice was this weekend and Christmas was only a few days away. Silently I made a list of the things I still needed to do before the big day.
Slipping out of bed, I started the coffeemaker. As the pot dripped and gurgled, I leaned over the sink and looked out the window. A thick fog had settled in overnight in the field between our house and barn. A squirrel that scampered along the fence looked almost like an apparition in the muted light. Standing there, the scene beyond my window looked like a Christmas card.
Last night, I stepped down to the road and put Christmas cards in the two newspaper boxes. We always put a little money in the cards. It’s not much, but we want the people around us to know that we appreciate them.
This morning, when I pulled the paper from the box, there was a handwritten note from one of the carriers. She’s working two jobs to make ends meet and this week had not been kind to her. The note said that Jilda’s card had made her day. Jilda got tears in her eyes as she read the note. Reading the carrier’s note, made our day.
Our lives haven’t always been flowers and fudge, but for the most part, we’ve led blessed lives. That is not true for everyone.
One of the things I’ve done the past few weeks at the paper is take pictures and write stories about Christmas events. Honda of Jasper gave 50 bicycles to kids at Sumiton Elementary school. Seeing the faces of these small children light up when they realized they were getting a new bicycle for Christmas put a lump in my throat. It seemed that some of the parents were breathing a sigh of relief knowing their child would have something nice for Christmas.
Earlier this week, I interviewed Ashleigh Lockhart who is a counselor at Sumiton Middle School. She helped start a holiday give-a-way program. This program helps kids who are a little too old for the Toys for Tots give-a-ways. She said the program started out small and they were only able to help a few kids. As word spread, more and more people wanted to help. This year, they raised enough to provide Christmas for 53 kids.
She teared up as she told me stories. “We had one parent who cried this morning when she picked up the gifts for her child,” Lockhart said. “This was a blessing in itself. That’s all I need for Christmas,” she said.
I smiled as I walked back to the truck after the interview. Some people speculate that the change in the sounds and light this time of year are due to the winter solstice. I think the movements of the planets do affect us. But I also believe that the change in people is due to the Christmas spirit that opens our eyes and hearts.
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Goes On is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.